The 27-year-old intervened after referee Andre Marriner gave a penalty to the home side during the second half of the match, correctly pointing out an offside in the build-up which meant that no penalty should have been awarded. The decision was overturned.
And Twitter, so often home to abusive criticism of officiating, was full of praise for Massey’s decision after the incident.
“Sian Massey is by far and away the best official in the Premier League!” said Alex Hillier on the social networking site, “Bet Andy Gray and Richard Keys feel stupid”
Massey became known to the wider public when she was the victim of a sexism storm two years ago, with ex-Sky presenters Keys and Gray taped speaking disparagingly of her abilities.
Football blogger Scott Johnston wrote, “How good is Sian Massey? Almost every game I’ve seen her run the line and she gets calls spot on that I need TV replays for.”
Another, Noz, asked: “Has Sian Massey ever got a decision wrong?”
Charlie Sedgwick added: “Sian Massey is the best assistant referee in the Premier League. It annoys me people slate her because she’s a girl! She’s better than the guys.”
And Dave Salmon pondered: “How long before she’s in the middle in the Prem?”
While Massey is not the first female assistant referee in the top flight, there has never been a female referee for a Premier League match.
Massey is a qualified referee, however, and was in charge of the 2011 Women’s FA Cup final, so it is possible she could make the transition in future.
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- Sian Massey