Ref Watch: Wycombe Wanderers (H)

I think we’ve had a couple of rather busy refs in recent weeks; Anthony Backhouse was not to my liking the other night.

I’m sure that won’t bother him at all. I wonder what I’ll think of the official this weekend as Gareth Ainsworth brings his physical juggernaut to Sincil Bank.

Assistants: Ian Smedley and Wayne Grunnill
Fourth Official: Bradley Hall

We saw Yates more than once last season, albeit once as the fourth official during our game against Gillingham at the Bank. It wasn’t a great night for us as Lincoln fans, and one imagines Mr Yates went back to Yate, or wherever he came from, with a bit of an earache from the now unemployed antagonist Steve Evans.

As an official, we first crossed paths with Ollie Yates in 2015/16, during a game in which we drew 1-1 with Altrincham. He handed out two bookings and considering we had Alan Power playing and he wasn’t booked, it seems like a rather low-key affair. He was back later in the season, another 1-1 draw at the Bank, this time he did book Power, as well as three Gateshead players. At the end of the season, he was promoted to the Football League and didn’t have the honour of officiating the DC era National League team.

Toffollo, whocould have been sent off at Yeovil – Credit Graham Burrell

I wonder if he suffered an injury as he refereed until October 2016 but then dropped off the radar until March 2018. Whatever the story, he took charge of 19 games across two seasons, before picking up 37 in 2018/19. Of those 37, only one was a Lincoln game, away at Yeovil where we won 2-0. He didn’t show a red card, but Harry Toffolo should have got one for a shocking high boot. Them’s the breaks, and we certainly got one.

In 2019/20, rather curiously, he refereed us home and away against Blackpool. The first game was Michael Appleton’s first in charge, whilst the second was, somewhat ironically, our first without Harry Toffolo. We won that encounter 1-0, and I said of the official: “Yates had a good game throughout to be fair to him, he let the contest flow and rarely put a foot wrong (apart from signalling advantage with one arm which confused me at times). He was also the official at the centre of Boston’s York Street FA Cup heartbreak, as they lost 2-1 to Rochdale in the last cup game at York Street.

Ollie Yates last season – Credit Graham Burrell

Last season, he popped up at The New Meadow, or whatever it is called in Shrewsbury now, and I wasn’t qite as impressed. We’d had some decent referees up until that game, which led me to remark “Whilst this one wasn’t bad, I couldn’t mark him down as ‘good’ either.” When contrasted with some I could mention, that’s positive praise.

This season, he’s booked 62 players in 18 matches, just under four per game, and sent two off. He’s awarded five penalties, two in one game, Barrow’s 2-0 win against Swindon, which also saw one of his red cards.