Referee: BEN TONER
Assistants: Abbas Khan and Christopher Ward
Fourth Official: David Richardson
Forest Green and Mark Cooper were a good mix for the Imps; we were 7-0 in boxing terms against Cooper’s team, but they’re different now. Former Notts County manager Iain Burchnall is in charge, but who will be controlling the game from an official point of view?
Ben Toner is well known to Imps fans; we had him three times in 2020/21; he officiated the 4-1 win against Shrewsbury, the 3-1 victory over Mansfield and our EFL Trophy semi-final against Sunderland. He was also in charge of one of our games back in 2017/18 when we won the trophy, that being our 1-0 win away at Rochdale in the second round.
Last season wasn’t quite as happy; he looked after our 2-0 defeat at Morecambe, a woeful outing for City and the first signs things were not going to go our way. Still, I had no serious issues with Toner in that game.
In 2018/19 he sent off just six players in 38 matches, two of which were Imps. He took charge of the 2-2 draw with Swindon in which Jason Shackell and Bruno Andrade were dismissed, neither of which we could complain too much about. He also sent off Ishmael Miller in our 1-1 draw with Oldham earlier that season, again a decision that was hard to argue.
Other notable games he has officiated include our 1-0 FA Cup win against Ipswich, as well as the 2-0 win at Burton in 2019/20 and 2-0 defeat at home to Portsmouth, handing out a hefty 13 yellow cards across the two ties.