Ref Watch: Morecambe (H)

Assistants: Billy Smallwood and Alex Gray
Fourth Official: Paul Stonier

I didn’t have reason to talk much about the referee on Saturday – I thought he had a decent game on the whole and let things flow quite nicely. The same can be said for this Saturday, as we have an official I’m a bit of a fan of (as much as you can be). We saw Martin Coy a couple of times last season in both games against Sheffield Wednesday. That’s not the only time he was part of the officiating team for one of our games: he was the fourth official when we played away at Morecambe, ironically.

We first crossed paths with him during our National League days. Our game with Salisbury in 2013 was only the third of his National League career, and one I’d rather forget; we lost 1-0. He was back later in the season, this time as we won 4-3 at Hyde United. He also took charge of our 4-1 victory over Barnet in 2014/15, our 3-2 reverse at Dover the following season, and a 1-1 with Macclesfield. In 2016/17, he was in charge as we beat Tranmere 1-0 thanks to Macauley Bonne’s goal and our 3-3 draw with Aldershot. He also incensed Barrow fans that season, but I’ve never had reason to complain.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

Continuing our decent run of form when Mr Coy is in charge, his first visit to Sincil Bank as a Football League referee saw us turn Forest Green over, 2-1 at Christmas 2017.  Our title-winning season saw our paths cross once again, and this time it produced the first red card in games of ours he has refereed. He sent James Wilson off as we drew 1-1 in the Checkatrade Trophy at Scunthorpe. He was then also in charge as we beat Morecambe 2-0 with an Andrade double later in the campaign.

After starting off his relationship with us with a 1-0 home defeat, his penultimate game at Bank was another home defeat, losing to Rotherham 1-0 in February 2020. We had him just once in 2020/21, in the 2-2 draw with Accrington, famous for Alex Palmer’s rather horrible early error, which gifted the visitors an early goal.

Last season he really impressed when we beat Sheff Weds 3-1. On that occasion, I wrote, It was what I can only call a blood and thunder game, played at a great pace with a referee (Martin Coy) who was more than happy to let things go, time and again. Pulling, pushing, even the odd nasty challenge was only punished by a talking to after play broke down. I’m all for that sort of refereeing, and the only surprise was Maguire’s booking, which in the context of the game felt soft. Maybe the ref felt a card for him might cut out on some of his antics, make a point to the other players. It worked.” – is that the case this season, given his numbers?

It’s hard to tell – in total, he’s only officiated eight games this season and just two in our division. In those games, he has averaged far fewer fouls awarded than most – he’s 51st out of 54, with just 17 per game, and is also low down for fouls awarded per tackle, 49 out of 54. He’s also quite lenient for yellows per game as well, 49 out of 54, averaging three per game. It certainly looks like we’ve got an official who likes to let the game flow, and won’t mind the odd meaty challenge.