Ref Watch: Cambridge United (A)

Assistants: Damith Bandara and Leigh Crowhurst
Fourth Official: Michael George

After the debacle of last weekend’s referee, it might be nice to get back to a half-decent official.

Sam Allison was a ref we encountered in the National League; he took charge of our 3-2 win against Woking during our title season, awarding two penalties in the game. I praised him on that occasion, saying he took a brave stand to give us a spot-kick (which Dayle Southwell missed) before Woking’s late consolation strike from an Elliott Whitehouse foul. He was also in charge of our 1-1 draw at Southport as we famously said goodbye to the National League, but as we left, he didn’t. He remained in the National League until the 2020/21 season, when he earned his promotion to the ranks of the EFL, becoming the first black referee to step into the Football League since Uriah Rennie.

Credit Graham Burrell

He was in charge of our 2-0 victory against Rochdale in 2020/21, and again there was no cause for me to mention the officials. The following week he flashed his only red card of the season, sending off Luke Waterfall in the game between Grimsby and Southend, both of whom were relegated. Last season we had him just once, away at Bolton, where we lost convincingly, and he had about as much to do as the Bolton keeper.

|He’s only had two matches so far this season, one in League Two and another in the Football League Trophy, so his stats aren’t comprehensive. What I would say is there is no mention of him in my Rochdale match report, which means he was barely noticeable and I think that is exactly the type of character a Football League referee should be.