The Man in the Middle – Peterborough

Our clash with Peterborough this weekend is expected to go ahead as planned, and it could be the game of the season so far.

It is a hugely important clash which pits us against a promotion rival in a game we will be desperate to win to enhance our genuine promotion credential. Of course, being four points clear means we’ll be top of the table whatever happens, but a win could open a 12-point gap between us and Posh, with them having a two-game advantage.

Such a high-profile game could hinge on the decisions made by officials, so in a return of our Man in the Middle feature, here are those officials.

Referee: Will Finnie
Assistant Referee: Darren Wilding & Richard Wigglesworth
Fourth Official: Ben Toner

Will Finnie is a second-year referee, and a quick Google search doesn’t seem to have him marked down as a bad official. In fact, only Steve Evans seems to have blasted him openly and let’s face it, Steve Evans would blast his own wife if she refereed against him. He did start his career a bit keen in the National League, sending off nine players in 22 games, including five in matches involving Havant and Waterlooville. Well, we’re not Havant and since his promotion to the Football League, he has shown far fewer cards.

Last season he took one of our matches, our Boxing Day defeat against Oxford United, In that game, I did talk about John Mousinho pulling back Tyler Walker who was free on goal, only for the player to be given a yellow not a red, but also sympathised with the official at the time. Other than that, he had a decent game and generally seems to have done so in most matches he’s taken since.

This season he has shown two red cards in 17 games, both for Bradford as they drew 2-2 at Forest Green. In terms of penalties, there have been just two scored in matches he’s officiated, one as Pompey thrashed King’s Lynn 6-1 in the FA Cup and one as Morecambe beat Malden in the same competition.