Ref Watch: Oxford United (A)

Garry Maskell and James Vallance
Fourth Official: George Byrne

The last two seasons that we’ve gone to oxford, we have done with a depleted side; one was affected by a woeful referee in 2020/21, and the other by a woeful Lincoln City. This time we might actually be competitive, but will the referee affect the game as Scott Oldham did? Let’s hope not!

Imps at Oxford last season – Credit Graham Burrell

Sam Barrott is a third-year official, one of a number of referees who were promoted to the EFL, having previously been seen taking charge of matches at Gainsborough Trinity’s level. He is a former footballer too, something I don’t think we see enough of. He had appeared at a decent standard for Halifax Town youth sides, but injury cut his career short, and he turned to officiating.

We have had him twice at the Bank, firstly during the 6-2 win against Forest Green in the FA Cup in 2020/21. His second game was a little more challenging; he took charge of our 3-0 home defeat against the robust Gillingham side and their belligerent manager, handing out six yellow cards.

Last season we had him twice; the first time, losing 1-0 to Bolton on the evening TJ Eyoma was announced, and again as we drew 1-1 with Rotherham a couple of weeks later. I didn’t feel he was a bad official on either occasion. Last season he awarded 24 fouls per game in League One, 14th out of 60 in terms of other referees, and he flashed 4.18 yellows per game, the 11th highest in the division. He was 34th for penalties, so doesn’t like to blow in the box.