Referee: Sam Allison
Assistant Referee: Nigel Lugg, Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
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.
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. This season, he was in charge of our 2-0 defeat at Cambridge, which wasn’t a game he was really needed in; we were that poor.
Sam is currently 24th from 53 in terms of fouls awarded per League One match, with 22.25. He’s 26th for fouls per tackle and 44th for yellows per game – just 2.75. It seems that whilst he isn’t one to shirk awarding a free kick where it is due, he doesn’t like to pull his cards out. That said, he has sent one player off in League One this season, that being Derby striker James Collins during their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Port Vale.