A Referee Analysis: Lee Mason
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 30 April 2016 at 5:10pm
In our win last week at home to Watford, Mike Dean had a very good game and awarded three penalties in one game. All of which I have to agree with. By going by the letter of the law, they were all correct and it was great to see that Dean awarded these correctly. The only issue I do have is that these types of fouls have been happening all season and I don’t understand why they are starting to be given after 34 games, however at least the decisions that are being awarded are correct. The referee appointed for this away game at West Brom was Lee Mason. Mason has officiated 19 Premier League games this season producing 54 cautions, 2 red cards, 1 two cautions to a red card and 3 penalties.
The first half was pretty uneventful and Mason didn’t have much to do to be honest. The only decision that I felt Mason could have taken action on was Aaron Cresswell’s foul on Salomón Rondón. Cresswell was quite late in the challenge and was quite high on Rondon. If Mason did issue Cresswell with a caution I wouldn’t have been surprised. However, Mason only spoke to Cresswell and warned him to watch his challenges for the rest of the game. The only other point worth mentioning is the question was West Ham’s goal offside? The answer is no. When the ball was played to Dimitri Payet from Lanzini, Diafra Sakho was in an offside position. However, the West Ham striker was not interfering with play on this phase so it cannot be offside. If Sahko was still in an offside position in the next phase and he interfered with play then yes, it would be offside. But on this occasion Payet was onside when the ball was played and the goal from Cheikhou Kouyaté correctly stands.
After minimal drama in the first half, the second half was the same. It was a very comfortable game for Mason but a game of this ease cannot be taken for granted as errors can slip in and you need to ensure that you maintain concentration. In a game where I am struggling to pick out obvious errors by Mason, the only one that I can point out was incorrectly ruling Salomón Rondón offside. The assistant referee flagged Rondón offside but the West Brom striker was level with Angelo Ogbonna after a through ball from Fletcher. Fortunately for West Ham, Adrian was already collecting the ball before Rondón could take another touch. It’s not often this season where I have praised the referees, and I feel that even though this game seemed particularly simple, Mason did a very good job. Mason allowed the game to flow which is important in any match as you don’t want to keep stop and starting the game if/when someone falls to the floor as this loses the games momentum. Mason controlled the match well ensuring that he kept up with the pace as you would expect for a seasonal professional referee. There isn’t much for me to constructively analyse and it’s refreshing to see that the last two games the referees have been spot on.
A note on West Ham; a particularly slow start on the first half was unpunished and then West Ham stepped up a gear and produced a professional performance. After a brilliant season for the club, we have achieved our highest single-season Premier League haul ever (beating 57 in 1998/99). It’s an incredible achievement for West Ham and this puts us one step closer to European football next season at our new stadium.