Referee who upset Leeds United head coach Neil Warnock in tense Yorkshire derby takes charge of Liverpool clash

Referee Craig Pawson will take charge of his 184th Premier League game on Sunday as Leeds United take on Liverpool at Elland Road.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:44 pm
Craig Pawson. Pic: Getty

The Yorkshire-born referee was the man in the middle when the Whites were held to a goalless draw by Manchester United last season, which was his first time taking charge of a top-flight Leeds fixture.

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The 42-year-old has officiated five Football League games involving Leeds United, including the Whites' first leg victory against Derby County in the 2019 play-off semi-final.

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His first time in charge of Leeds United left a sour memory for Whites fans as Pawson, who is a Sheffield United fan, oversaw Leeds' 2-0 shock defeat against basement side Barnsley at Oakwell in January of 2013.

Discontent was simmering among the fans as the loss put promotion hopefuls, who had struggled over the Christmas fixtures, five points shy of the play-off places.

Sam Byram was at fault for both of Barnsley's goals, with Pawson handing the Tykes a penalty for his challenge on Chris Dagnall before the striker surged pass him for the second.

Pawson ignored the penalty shout from Reds' midfielder Stephen Dawson after Becchio felled him in the area, and was similarly deaf to fans' cries when Dawson himself committed a dangerous challenge.

Neil Warnock. Pic: Getty

The visiting fans didn't take to the performance kindly, filling the ground with chants of 'time to go!' aimed at head coach Neil Warnock, who shared in his post-match interview that he felt the supporters' appraisal was fair.

"We were very poor in the first half," Warnock said. "If I had have been one of the 5,000 I might have said what they were.

"I thought we had some great chances at the start of the second half and then there was a horrendous tackle from [Stephen] Dawson. How that's not a red card I don't know."

Two months later Pawson officiated his first Premier League match, a Swansea City victory over Newcastle United.

Pawson shows Dallas yellow in FA Cup game at Cambridge United. Pic: Getty

This season he has refereed four games, two Europa Conference League qualifiers and a pair of Premier League fixtures, and was pitchside in his role as fourth official as the Whites were held to a draw at Burnley.

On Sunday he will be assisted by Lee Betts and Richard West, with Andy Madley acting as fourth official. Darren England will take charge of VAR, with Peter Kirkup assisting.

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Pawson shows Bartley yellow. Pic: Getty