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Rochdale 1 v 0 Accrington Stanley
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 24th November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Refwatch: Dale v Accrington
Thursday, 22nd Nov 2018 21:41 by TVOS

Select Group referee Lee Probert will make his Spotland debut when Dale entertain Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Mr Probert was appointed to the list of elite match officials in 2007 and refereed regularly in the Premier League and on the international stage until the end of the 2014/15 season.

He then suffered an unfortunate injury which sidelined him for the whole of the following campaign, but Lee worked his way back to fitness to officiate in the EFL for the majority of 2016/17.

Having proved his fitness and ability, Probert ended that season with four Premier League appointments, before starting last term as the man in the middle for Dale’s game at Portsmouth.

Fans will recall Dale lost that game 2-0 and had Keith Keane dismissed, while Pompey later had Jamal Lowe shown a red card.

Lee went on to referee a further 14 Premier League games last season and has had six more this time around, taking him to over 170 top flight matches in total in his career.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of that career came in May 2014 when Lee was appointed to the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City.

Hull took a surprise early 2-0 lead, only for The Gunners to fight back and lift the trophy after a 3-2 win.

As far as Dale are concerned, that game at Fratton Park in August 2017 was the first time we had seen Lee since September 2008 when, coincidentally, he was in the middle for a Sunday afternoon trip to Accrington.

Dale won 3-1 that day, thanks to goals from Adam Le Fondre, Will Buckley and Jordan Rhodes.

Mr Probert has also refereed Dale on three other occasions.

In September 2003, he was in charge of the 2-1 loss at Macclesfield, which fans may ruefully remember for some rather comical defending by Dale’s back-line!

Lee was also the referee for our first-ever trip to Yeovil later that season, a game that ended in a 1-0 defeat, while in November 2004 we saw him at Oxford when Dale won 1-0 thanks to Tony Gallimore’s late shot hitting the post and rebounding in off the ‘keeper’s head!

All told this term he has been in charge of ten matches, showing 36 yellow cards and three red.

His last Premier League appointment was Newcastle v Bournemouth a fortnight ago, which followed the emotional Cardiff v Leicester match a week earlier.

As far as Lee’s appointment to this fixture at Spotland is concerned, Select Group referees are contracted to officiate across all four divisions and the PGMOL are contracted to provide at least two teams of officials for EFL fixtures each weekend/midweek, especially as they realistically only need ten for the Premier League, plus a couple for fourth official duties.

Quite why Dale v Accrington is one of those matches is another matter.

Photo: Action Images

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