The performance of the ref and his assistants against Stoke was first class. It also gave me a bit of nostalgia.
I’ve always liked Marriner as I recall a game he reffed against Leeds when he awarded a free kick to Swans. Snodgrass went to run at him to have at a go at Marriner who motioned to go for his pocket for a card. Snodgrass stopped dead in his tracks. I’ve used this many a time and is a fantastic piece of reffing.
Back to the game.
Marriner was always in the correct position and close to play when there was an incident. This is the hardest part of reffing. He also appeared to be constantly communicating with the players who gave him the respect. This certainly helped. He also could be seen using and talking to his assistants. That was refreshing to see.
During the game the ref often applied what is defined as the “wait and see” really well. He would see the foul and wait to see if play developed. If it didn’t he would bring it back.
He was correct not to award a yellow card for the back pass to the keeper. I also thought he dealt with that wonderful foul on McClean well. (This is one my supporter eyes got the better of me!)
McClean had just put a bad foul on Roberts and reacted trying to act as if Roberts had dived. McClean was trying to wind the Swans players up. There was for certain an element of retribution.
Marriner got involved quickly to ensure the incident didn’t inflame further. In regards to incident with Palmer. I felt that it was dealt with correctly as it was one that looked a lot worse than what it was.
The keeper had come for the ball to punch it, it was a 50-50 challenge that Palmer got to first. The yellow card was sufficiently applied.
What I liked the most, is a ref applying the laws of the game. He ensured free kicks and throw ins were taken from the right place. He also had the players tape up their jewellery – something that has really annoyed me lately with Premier refs allowing this.
Was an excellent performance from Marriner who deserves high praise.