"If there is a qualified assistant referee in the stadium, please can they make themselves known?" That was the request made at half-time in Thursday's Continental Cup game between Arsenal Ladies and Reading FC Women following an injury to one of the officials. And just who should happen to be in the ground at Boreham Wood FC? None other than Premier League referee Michael Oliver.
The 30-year-old FIFA referee was in the stands watching the match, refereed by his wife, Lucy. He duly stepped in to run the line for the second half, prompting chants of "there's only one Michael Oliver" from some home fans. And having taken charge of Arsenal and Liverpool's 0-0 Premier League draw at Emirates Stadium on Monday with an attendance of more than 60,000 people, Oliver found himself officiating in front of a crowd of 873. "It was a strange one," Reading boss Kelly Chambers, whose side lost 2-1, told BBC Sport. "It was nice of him to step in and help us. "We needed him; otherwise it could have been a different kettle of fish if we had just anyone taking over." Oliver, who has been eligible to take charge of European internationals since 2012, is set to referee Premier League match between Stoke City and West Brom.