Ref Watch: Cheltenham Town (A)

Ominously, I said early in the week that Declan Bourne liked to award penalties. I didn’t quite realise how much he enjoyed it.

It’s fair to say we had a weak referee on Tuesday night, which doesn’t help when you have a weak attack. Will tomorrow be more of the same?

Referee: TOM NIELD
Assistant: Samuel Ogles and Richard Morris
Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua

The answer is, hopefully, no. Tom Nield is a bright, young referee who we have seen on a few occasions, and rarely been disappointed. He first crossed our path in October 2015, his first game on the National League scene. We won 3-2 at Chester, but lost when he officiated our game with Forest Green later in the season. He sent off aaron Racine in that game, but we lost 1-0.

He flahsed another red card in his next visit to the Bank, a 0-0 draw with Solihull Moors that I like to call the Tom Champion game. He was back at the bank weeks later for another 0-0 draw, this time with Eastleigh. However, there was no such lack of goals on his final visit to us that season, the era-defining 2-1 win against Macclesfield that put us back into the Football League.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

He was promoted with us, and came back to the Bank in September as we drew 0-0 (again), this time with Luton Town. He then officiated in three games that saw rare occurrences; 2-1 v Notts County that brought a Josh Ginnelly goal, 1-1 away at Barnet that saw John Akinde score from open play (for them) and the infamous 3-2 win against Exeter in which Ollie Palmer ran the length of the pitch thinking hed won us the game when he hadn’t, only for him to win us the game moments later.

After a season away from our games, we got him twice during the first part of Michael’s reign. He was the man in the middle when we lost 1-0 to Portsmouth on October 22nd, 2019, and the man who sent off Tayo Edun as we drew 0-0 (again) at home to Gillingham in February 2020. Shockingly, he also booked Steve Evans. That was the last time we saw Nield at the Bank, but he’s been busy enough; he’s officiated 19 games this season, handing out 80 yellows and just two reds. So far this campaign, he hasn’t officiated in a 0-0 draw. In those 19 matches he’s only awarded five penalties, so hopefully no double blow just after half time this week.

He was once involved in a curious game between Newprt and Exeter; he sent off two players, but there were no other bookings at all.