When you get to this stage of the FA Cup, you can expect the standard of refereeing to increase, and that is indeed the case as experienced official Anthony Taylor will be the man in the middle when West Bromwich Albion visit the Madjeski Stadium on Saturday.
The 37 year old has officiated 31 games so far this campaign, including in the Community Shield, Premier League, European Championship Qualifiers, Champions League (which dates back to July), Capital One Cup and FA Cup – that’s more competitions than any other English referee this season. It’s fair to say it’s been a tiring one for Mr Taylor.
In that time, he has given out 108 yellow cards and four red cards as well as six penalties. His most recent game was the top of the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Leicester, so it’ll be a bit of a ‘fall from grace’ when he takes to the Mad Stad pitch. So far in the FA Cup in 2015-16, Taylor was the ref for West Ham’s 1-0 win over Wolves (round three), Leicester’s defeat to Tottenham (round three replay) and Manchester United’s win against Derby (round four). Those games have seen just three yellow cards between them.
The Cheshire official has been the whistle-blower for 11 previous Reading fixtures, of which the Royals have won three, drawn three and lost five. That includes three previous FA Cup ties (two wins) and a 3-1 defeat to Saturday’s opponents The Baggies in October 2009. Taylor’s most recent Biscuitmen clash was the 3-1 win over Doncaster in April 2014, when he awarded us a penalty which Adam Le Fondre scored. It is one of three spot-kicks he has given in Reading’s favour versus just the one against. Taylor has never shown the red card in a match involving the Royals before.
The assistant referees in Berkshire will be Darren Cann and Scott Ledger, whilst on fourth official duty is Roger East.