The Man in the Middle – Accrington

We face Accrington Stanley this evening for a place in the EFL trophy quarter-finals and have been afforded a referee we are wholly familiar with.

I’ve said it before, this is a competition I’m sure Michael will be keen to win, both for his own personal reasons and the prize money it brings to the club. I’d love to see us win it, whatever you view of its core principles, it is silverware and we have been without a trophy now for 18 months, which is unacceptable (tongue firmly in cheek). Personally, I think a chance to go to Wembley, even if we can’t actually go, is good for the club and the financial rewards are such that we should covet a win.

The officials have been announced for some time and they are:

Referee: CHRISTOPHER SARGINSON
Assistants: Martyn Holmes and Anthony Moore
Fourth Official: Ian Smedley

We haven’t had Mr Sarginson this season, and he is one who doesn’t like a red card. In fact, he has doled out just one this campaign, sending off Scunthorpe’s Miles Hippolyte as they lost 5-0 at home to Cambridge in October. He has only doled out 44 yellows in his 17 matches too, between two and three per game, which suggest a lenient official happy to let the game flow.

In fact, Sarginson has been on the end of a couple of decisions which have worked in our favour in recent years. He was the referee who sent off Siriki Dembele as we beat Posh 2-1 on New Year’s Day, and he was the referee who allowed John Akinde’s goal against Wycombe last season which I don’t think should have stood. Going even further back, he did us a favour sending off Pat Kanyucka as we lost 6-0 to Rotherham in 2011 (ten men was better than Kanyucka in a full team of eleven), and he was lenient when only booking Anthony Elding for kicking out at Efe Sodje when we played Bury (although he did send Elding off not long after for twatting Ryan Cresswell). He does have a habit of sending off players we go on to loathe, he dismissed Ben Hutchinson as we drew 1-1 with Macclesfield in 2011, a game that if we had won we would most likely have stayed up.

He’s a good, solid lower league referee and one who doesn’t give me any immediate concerns when I see his name crop up.