Ref Watch: Rotherham Utd (A)

I thought we had a decent referee on Saturday, even if he did make a decision that ultimately contributed to us losing the game.

It’s actually the second game in a row where one of our players has committed to a challenge from such an angle that they win the ball, but get punished. I guess that’s as much on the assistant referees as it is the ref, but there we go. It’s one of those things I guess can’t be helped.

Who will we be relying on to make the right call should such an incident occur tomorrow against Rotherham United?

Assistant: Christopher Ward and Darren Williams
Fourth Official: Ian Smedley

Haines is a very experienced referee with sixteen years of experience behind him. We first saw him on Boxing Day in 2007, on an away trip to Bradford City which we lost 2-1 (Barry Conlon got the winner, much to my ire). He took charge of us plenty during our final years as a Football League team, including the opening day of the 2008/09 season, where we lost 1-0 at Rotherham. Let’s hope that’s not an omen.

He was also in charge of a dour 0-0 draw at Shrewsbury. He’s reffed us in the League Cup too, we went down 1-0 at home to Barnsley just before Jacko was sacked. The first red card he showed a Lincoln player came in 2010, when Davide Somma was sent off on his final Imps outing. The following season, our annus horribilis, he officiated as we won 2-1 at Bradford (they must have been awful), and as we went down 4-0 at home to Gillingham.

Credit Graham Burrell

Since coming back into the league, he has been to Sincil Bank a few times, as we won 3-1 against Port Vale in 2017, and as we hammered Southend 4-0 in 2019. In between those games, he sent off James Norwood as we went down 1-0 against Tranmere. He also officiated our 1-0 FA Cup defeat against Ipswich. Towards the end of the 2019/20 season he took charge of our 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury, awarding a penalty to both sides. In 2020/21 we had him just once, he dismissed Sean McConville in our 0-0 daw with Accrington, a game in which I felt we would have benefitted from a few kinder decisions. We had him just once in 2021/22 as well, Shrewsbury (again) in the EFL Trophy, where we won 4-1. This season, no prizes for guessing which game he reffed; yep, Shrewsbury away in the EFL Cup, where he showed precisely zero cards.

This season, he’s officiated 21 matches and sent just one player off, Lucas Covolan this weekend. He’s the Port Vale keeper and he kicked out at Harry McKirdy as they challenged for a high ball. He’s also only issued 54 booking in those 21 games, fairly low in terms of an average.