Ref Watch: Derby County (H)

Assistants: Anthony Da Costa and Lisa Rashid
Fourth Official: Anthony Moore

We’re going to have another new face in charge of our game against Derby County this weekend: Thomas Kirk is a first-year referee who enjoyed a single season in the National League before his promotion.

He had officiated at a lower level in the past, drawing the ire of former Imps defender Josh Gowling last September, but clearly, the anger Gowling felt wasn’t shared by assessors. He’s quickly risen through the ranks and may have hit the Football League sooner. His ‘real’ job took him to California for a couple of years, and he suffered from Covid, meaning his progress was slowed.

He officiated seven National League matches last season and had a low yellow card ratio, averaging a little over two per game. He was promoted in the summer and has since had seven matches. Five of those have been in League Two, with one in the EFL Trophy and another in the League Cup. Perhaps the biggest game he’s had so far was Doncaster and Mansfield, in which he awarded two penalties.

Referee Thomas Kirk During National League Editorial Stock Photo - Stock  Image | Shutterstock | Shutterstock Editorial

In the current League Two referee table, he is 18/43 for fouls awarded, averaging 22 per game. He is ninth from 43 for yellows per game, with a rise to 4.67 per match from his low level in the National League. He’s yet to send a player off, and he awards a penalty every two matches at the moment, but the Doncaster game certainly bulked up those stats.

There’s no doubt this will be the biggest match of his career so far, with the largest away following he’s officiated in front of and possibly the largest overall crowd as well. His current record suggests he’s an average official, not too whistle-happy, but also not afraid to show a yellow card, so we’ll see how he does. As long as he doesn’t miss a blatant elbow to Tom Hopper’s face, we’ll be fine!