WHEN Furness Rovers A manager Paul Chatfield was struggling to find a referee for last Saturday’s home clash with Haverigg United reserves in Furness Premier League Division Two, assistant Natasha Pearson was happy to take on the job.

It is not an uncommon occurrence for games in the lower divisions of the FPL to go without a registered official in charge – tomorrow’s fixtures are, however, fully covered – which means clubs having to source willing volunteers.

Having refereed until she was 20, before coaching took priority, Pearson was quick to put her name forward to come to the aid of her team.

Refereeing a match involving her own team added a slightly different challenge, but aside from awarding a penalty the 3-2 win for Haverigg passed off without any issues and she earned the plaudits of both teams for her handling of the match.

“I run the A team with Paul Chatfield and he said he was struggling to find anyone who could ref it, so I said I’d ref it because I used to do it when I was younger,” said Pearson, who enjoyed being back out on the pitch with the whistle in hand.

“It was interesting! You forget the different perspective you get from the sidelines because it’s a totally different game being in the middle, but it was good to get back out there.

“The lads were all fine, they understood we didn’t have a ref and both sides were respectful. There wasn’t really too much bother – apart from a penalty!”

Pearson has been assisting Chatfield this season as part of her working towards achieving the UEFA B Licence, which is needed to coach in the professional game.

The former Dalton Girls & Ladies player aims to have finished her final assessments by the end of the 2018/19 season and would like to get involved with Barrow AFC’s Performance Centre once she has her licence, having previously coached the under-14 girls.

Pearson has not ruled out a return to refereeing full-time one day either, but for now it will only be if Rovers need help again.

“Maybe once I’ve done that, give it a while and I might go back into refereeing, but coaching is at the forefront at the moment,” said Pearson.

“It’s been challenging, but it’s been good. the lads at Rovers have been really helpful with us, they always give 100 per cent even if it’s cold and wet, and they don’t mind if you ask them to stop and watch something again or do it again.

“The club has been really supportive, especially Paul Chatfield because he has done a lot of work alongside me.”