Ref Watch: Crewe Alexandra (H)

It’s the season’s final game this weekend, and with nothing riding on it, it seems only right we get a decent referee.

Assistant: Daniel Woodward and Kevin Howick
Fourth Official: David Hunt

Andrew Kitchen is a first-year referee, and that would usually mean there’s very little for us to draw upon. He has reffed a couple of our matches, the first being our 3-0 win against Bradford in the EFL Trophy earlier in the season. I don’t recall anything particularly bad from him during that game, which meant I wasn’t overly worried when he popped up as the official for the visit of Cambridge to the Bank.

He really impressed me in that game (one we lost 1-0), to a point where I felt we’d got away with a few bits. “I actually thought we got away with quite a bit in terms of pulling and fouling; referee Andrew Kitchen let the game flow, allowed some fouls to slip by, but not to a point where the game got overly tasty,” I wrote. “Until one key moment, which I’ll come to, he was a 10/10 referee. As a first-year official, I sense big things for him in the future.” That key moment was their goal, where I felt a free-kick had been awarded wrongly for a foul of TJ Eyoma. However, one decision certainly didn’t make me question the official, as it wasn’t clear cut.

Credit Graham Burrell

He has flashed a couple of reds this season; one was to Sunderland player Jack Diamond during his loan spell at Harrogate Town in League Two, but it was for two bookings. His only straight red was Tom Bloxham for Shrewsbury on December 18th. He’s not a big one for penalties either; he’s awarded just one in his games this season, for Tranmere away at Carlisle. In 23 matches he’s shown two reds, given one penalty and flashed just 58 yellows. He’s certainly not one to make it about him.

He’s also very familiar with the Imps bench; he was the fourth official last weekend as we were beaten 2-1 at Accrington. Let’s hope familiarity doesn’t breed contempt in this instance.