The Man in the Middle – Rochdale

The Imps have back-to-back home games this week, looking to once again impress ourselves in the top two of the division.

With the EFL Trophy Final being played Saturday and Sunday, Peterborough and Sunderland are not playing. That means a win against Rochdale will send us second, no matter what anyone else does. If Hull were to struggle against Oxford, we could even go top. How exciting.

Which official will be charged with keeping law and order on the field, I hear you ask?

Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistant Referee: Graeme Fyvie, Geoffrey Russell
Fourth Official: Ian Smedley

Like many of the officials we see this season, Coggins started his rise through the ranks at the same time we did, 2016/17. In fact, his second game at that level was our 4-0 win against Southport in the National League, the day Johnny Margetts hit four goals and they had Ashley Grimes sent off. What an afternoon that was! He appeared in the middle twice more that season, the 1-0 win at Solihull Moors when Theo-gate exploded, and finally the fine 3-1 win against Forest Green in which he definitely did not miss a Lee Angol infringement ahead of us turning the game around.

He was promoted in the summer of 2017, although I’m not sure he celebrated it quite as hard as I did. It did mean he got to visit Sincil Bank again, this time as referee of our 2-2 draw with Swindon Town in 2018. It was the first of three 2-2 draws over the last couple of years, the first in which a man was sent off – Matt Preston getting his marching ordered before they took a 2-1 lead right up to the last minute when their keeper chucked one in the net.

Bozzie’s goal. apparently – Courtesy of Graham Burrell

The last time we saw Coggins in charge of a Lincoln game was notable as it was the only game in which John Akinde missed a penalty, our 1-1 draw with Notts County at Meadow Lane. Hilariously, that result saw an outpouring of anger on social media, saying we wouldn’t win the league etc. Well, we did, and they went down, so not every poor result is detrimental to the bigger picture. Worth considering.

This will be the first time since that afternoon he has controlled one of our matches. This season, he has done 20 games, booking 58 players and sending four off. He hasn’t overseen a Rochdale game either this season, but he does have a good pedigree in big League One matches, having taken charge of Ipswich and Peterborough earlier in the season.