According to Daily Mail UK, a pitch invader narrowly missed intentionally smashing into referee Peter Bankes during Oldham’s clash with Rochdale.
The rogue fan jumped over advertising hoardings before making a beeline for the official with apparent intent to seriously injure him.
After charging furiously across half of the pitch, he slipped at the vital moment to fall in a heap at Bankes’ feet.
The referee caught a glimpse of the pitch invader and avoided being taken out before two Oldham players restrained the irate spectator after he would hit the turf.
Anthony Gerrard, the cousin of Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard, was the first to spot the danger.
He intervened after the fan had fallen on the ground, collaring him and waiting for a team-mate to help march him into the arms of waiting stewards.
It was an unsavoury incident during an otherwise uneventful League One clash, which finished in a goalless draw.
Bankes gave a first-half penalty to Rochdale after Gerrard was adjudged to have fouled Joe Thompson.
This decision appeared to trigger the pitch invader into action but fortunately he was unable to make contact.
Sportsmail’s refereeing expert Graham Poll said: ‘It’s unlikely that this shameful incident was a coincidence, taking place just after Gianluigi Buffon’s abuse of Michael Oliver.
‘If respect is not shown to referees at the highest level, this behaviour can trickle down to lower leagues.’