Late Wolves drama forecast as Leeds United referee appointment sets up Elland Road throwback

Referee Robert Jones has taken charge of more games involving Leeds United than any other club.

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 3:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 3:14 pm

In 12 appearances as referee for the Whites’, only once has Jones overseen a defeat for the West Yorkshire side – a 1-0 loss away to Ipswich in January 2018.

His most recent meeting with United threatened the unsettle the 100% undefeated record Leeds hold at Elland Road with Jones as the man in the middle.

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Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked no closer to pulling clear of their tricky start to the season, in which they’d won just one in eight, when Wolves last visited LS11 in October 2021.

The Midlands’ side’s loanee Hwang Hee Chan put United on the back foot just 10 minutes into the contest, poaching a goal from six yards out to give Wolves the lead.

As the Whites strived to summon some of their 2020/2021 mojo to find an equaliser, the Elland Road faithful became frustrated by the visitors’ time-wasting which went unpunished by Jones.

With just six points on the board after eight games, Bielsa rolled the dice and brought on rising star Joe Gelhardt for the final half hour of the match.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Match referee, Robert Jones shows a yellow card to Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road on October 23, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Gifted one of the game’s finest chances by Rodrigo, the teenager forced a fingertips save from Wolves ‘keeper Jose Sa as the game was entering the final ten minutes.

His tenacity and clever feet frustrated the visitors’ defence, though, and Gelhardt drew a foul from Nélson Semedo in injury time which Jones deemed worthy of a spot-kick.

It was Rodrigo who stepped up, and the Spaniard calmly slotted the ball in Sa’s bottom corner before earning a booking by Jones for a less-than-calm celebration in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

The result put United three points clear of 18th-placed Burnley and kicked off a run of brighter form as Bielsa’s men took nine points from their next six games.

Leeds United's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Rodrigo celebrates scoring their first goal from the penalty spot to equalise 1-1 during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on October 23, 2021. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Again, on Saturday, Jones will officiate an early-season Leeds v Wolves Premier League clash – his 23rd top flight game – when Whites manager Jesse Marsch will hope to put a positive result to bed far earlier than the 94th-minute on a drama-free afternoon in LS11.

Across his Premier League career, Jones has handed out on average 2.5 yellow cards per game, and sends a player off once every 11 matches.

On Saturday at Elland Road, Jones will be assisted by Ian Hussin and Lee Betts, with Michael Oliver acting as fourth official. Jarred Gillett will take charge of VAR, with Neil Davies assisting.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: Referee Robert Jones during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Crystal Palace at The King Power Stadium on April 10, 2022 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)