I omitted my Ref Watch article last week, my apologies.
If I’d done it, I would have shuddered at Huxtable, a referee I think just doesn’t get it. Generally, I think officials at our level are decent, aside maybe from the odd one, but he bucks the trend. Will we see the same tomorrow?
Referee: ANTHONY BACKHOUSE
Assistants: Matthew Smith and Gareth Viccars
Fourth Official: Lisa Rashid
Backhouse first took charge of an Imps game back in our National League days, as we beat Tamworth 2-1. I remember the game well, Lee Hendrie played for them and it was a win that pushed us into the final game away at Hyde, and ultimately survival for the second year in a row. Going into the game was perhaps the nadir of our National League days after that Gary Simpson began the turnaround and we weren’t seriously in relegation trouble again.
We were pumped 5-1 at Halifax on December 28th the following season and that could well be described as a low of sorts. Backhouse was in charge and he sent off Alan Power after 12 minutes, rightly so, before our late capitulation. Other notable non-league games he took charge of included the 2-1 win against Tranmere where Andy Mangan dived to win a penalty, and our televised 2-0 win against Dagenham and Redbridge.
He has been in control of seven matches of ours in the Football League, one of the more notable our 2-1 win at Stevenage during which Matt Green was sent off for two bookings. They were both spot-on, one for encroaching on the kick-off and another for kicking the ball away. However, he also gave the penalty from which Ollie Palmer netted the winner.
More recently, he officiated the 6-0 home reverse against Oxford, in which the only abhorrent displays were from our players, and this season he was in charge for our 0-0 draw with Fleetwood. In that game, he could have dismissed Alex Palmer for a challenge on Harvey Saunders and a more enthusiastic referee may have done. Instead, he controlled the game relatively well I felt, despite it being a bit competitive in places. The last time we had him officiating one of our games was last season, as we beat Northampton 2-1. Once again, he did very little to concern Imps supporters.
This season, he’s officiated 24 games, shown just a single red card and 80 yellows, at almost four per game. That’s just above the average, but he isn’t generally card happy. He’s not big on penalties either; he’s given just the one, against Scunthorpe as they lost 3-2 to Bristol Rovers.