Kevin Friend from Leicestershire will take charge of this weekend’s clash between Everton and Queens Park Rangers.
The 40-year-old was promoted to the National List of referees in 2000 before his eventual promotion to the Select List and eventual first fixture in 2009.
This weekend he will be assisted by Mr Glenn Turner (Derbyshire) and Mr Ian Gosling (Kent) with the fourth official Mr Mike Jones (Cheshire) – a select list official in his own right.
In 22 fixtures this campaign Mr Friend has dished out 77 yellow cards and three reds – giving him an average of 3.64 cards per game.
Mr Friend first took charge of the R’s at Meadow Lane, as Kevin Gallen snatched a much-needed point but Paul Heffernan’s hatrick stole the show for the Magpies. He booked three Rangers players in the process.
Later that year there was an even more important draw, where as Notts County was a point gained, the Stockport County fixture was certainly two points dropped, in a 1-1 draw. Were it not for Bristol City hitting the buffers on the same day, Rangers would have been chasing that second spot they ultimately claimed in 2004.
Having been promoted the R’s faced tough opposition in Derby County, and somehow claimed a draw at Pride Park under the eyes of Mr Friend. Inigo Idiakez whistled several set pieces narrowly over Simon Royce’s cross bar as the R’s clung onto a point.
Gary Waddock’s men travelled in more trepidation that hope to Bramall Lane as they faced Sheffield United, but somehow Rangers battled to an impressive 3-2 win, Furlong slamming home the winner. Two own goals, a Nygaard strike and five bookings in a match that had everything. Ultimately it was the only remaining joy the R’s would have that season as they slumped to fourth bottom.
Once again Mr Friend saw last gasp drama as Shabazz Baidoo slotted home against Leeds United to secure a 2-2 draw at Loftus Road. On the day where Zesh Rehman was paraded around Loftus Road as the R’s latest capture Rangers plugged away but looked second best throughout, before a penalty levelled matters and Baidoo was on hand to peg United back once more.
Mr Friend presided over the R’s first defeat when Birmingham City beat Rangers 2-1 at St Andrews on Boxing Day, despite an excellent Lee Cook effort to draw matters level at one stage.
Fast forward to February 2008, and Rangers were riding the crest of a wave, 2-0 up against Burnley at home and looking unstoppable under Luigi De Canio. Andy Cole had different ideas, a hatrick from the ex-Manchester United and Newcastle United forward put the R`s to the sword in a 4-2 defeat.
Mr Friend oversaw the R’s demolition of Southampton, as former Saint Dexter Blackstock bagged a brace in a 4-1 win. Young defender Oliver Lancashire was given his marching orders by the official for an over-zealous challenge on Damien Delaney.
He then took charge of QPR down at Plymouth Argyle as Gareth Ainsworth’s QPR held the Pilgrims to a 1-1 draw at Home Park. Heidar Helguson had opened the scoring before Steve MacLean equalised late on.
There was a sizeable break in his presiding over QPR fixtures, owing to Friend becoming a select list official, but he returned to oversee a dramatic Rangers win earlier this campaign. Keiran Cadogan thought he’d hit a late leveller for Palace to cancel out Adel Taarabt’s opener.
Selhurst Park was to be stunned however as Heidar Helguson snatched a winner at the death to preserve Rangers’ position at the top of the Championship.
He was handed a momentous Championship clash as QPR hosted Cardiff City before the turn of the year, with Rangers running out slender victors. Craig Bellamy’s opener was cancelled out moments later by a Kaspars Gorkss header.
The magic of Adel Taarabt won the fixture as he jinked between two defenders before rifling the ball into the top corner in the second period.
The first season back in the top flight saws Mr Friend oversee a clash with Everton – where Queens Park Rangers were surprise victors. The home side were booed from the field as Tommy Smith struck the first half winner.
Mr Friend & Queens Park Rangers
Notts County 3-3 QPR – 26-12-2003
Goals: Paul Heffernan 6, 28, 72pen; Palmer 3, Richardson 10og, Gallen 90.
Booked: Tony Barrass; Marc Bircham, Clarke Carlisle, Martin Rowlands.
QPR 1-1 Stockport County – 17-04-2004
Goals: Martin Rowlands 3; Rob Clare 58.
Booked: Marcus Bean, Matthew Rose; Jim Goodwin.
Derby County 0-0 QPR – 16-03-2005
Booked: Lee Cook.
Sheffield United 2-3 QPR – 25-02-2006
Goals: Ade Akinbiyi 21, Marc Bircham 29og; Marc Nygaard 6, Chris Morgan 56og, Paul Furlong 74.
Booked: Michael Tonge; Richard Langley, Steve Lomas, Marc Nygaard, Danny Shittu.
QPR 2-2 Leeds United – 08-08-2006
Goals: Martin Rowlands 81pen, Shabazz Baidoo 90; Eddie Lewis 65, Geoff Horsfield 82.
Booked: Damion Stewart; Stephen Crainey, Shaun Derry, Matthew Kilgallon, Tony Warner.
Birmingham City 2-1 QPR – 26-12-2006
Goals: Matthew Upson 22, Cameron Jerome 62; Lee Cook 31.
Booked: Nicklas Bendtner; Mauro Milanese.
QPR 2-4 Burnley – 12-02-2008
Goals: Gavin Mahon 14, Patrick Agyemang 30; Andy Cole 41, 56, 86, Ade Akinbiyi 77.
Booked: Mikele Leigertwood; Stanislav Varga.
QPR 4-1 Southampton – 14-09-2008
Goals: Dexter Blackstock 1, 77, Damion Stewart 63, Patrick Agyemang 90; Adam Lallana 53.
Booked: Damien Delaney, Mikele Leigertwood; Lloyd Dyer, Morgan Schneiderlin.
Sent Off: Oliver Lancashire
Plymouth Argyle 1-1 QPR – 13-12-2008
Goals: Steve MacLean 83; Heidar Helguson 16
Booked: Simon Walton; Heidar Helguson, Peter Ramage
Crystal Palace 1-2 QPR – 02-10-2010
Goals: Keiran Cadogan 89; Adel Taarabt 49, Heidar Helguson 90
Booked: Andy Dorman, Julian Speroni; Hogan Ephraim, Clint Hill
QPR 2-1 Cardiff City – 27/11/2010
Goals: Kaspars Gorkss 18, Adel Taarabt 68; Craig Bellamy 13
Booked: Clint Hill, Leon Clarke; Peter Whittingham, Craig Bellamy, Jason Koumas.
Everton 0-1 QPR – 20/08/2011
Goals: Tommy Smith 31
Booked: Leon Osman; Fitz Hall