Referee: BEN TONER
Assistant: Lee Freeman and Mark Jones
Fourth Official: Amy Fearn
Ben Toner is a familiar face for the Imps – we’ve already had him at the Bank this season for our 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers.
Last season 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. 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.
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 in 2016/17, 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.
Despite the reds and yellows I’ve mentioned, he’s certainly not been card-happy in his League One matches this season. He’s taken charge of five in our division and is 38/52 in terms of fouls per game (20.20), although he does have a slightly high fouls per tackle ratio (0.80), which is 17 out of 52. He’s also 32/52 for yellows per game, making him a middle-of-the-road referee with plenty of experience.
Interestingly, all of the penalties he’s awarded this year (since January) have been to away teams; for Cambridge at Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth at Cheltenham and Sutton Utd at Barrow last season. The Sutton game also brought his last red card, sending off Josh Kay with a second yellow for celebrating Barrow’s goal. Here’s something to note – he hasn’t shown a red card in a game involving a League One side since February 2020, when he sent off Abu Ogogo for an off-the-ball incident with Chris Maguire in Sunderland’s 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers.