Referee: BENJAMIN SPEEDIE
Assistants: Anthony Da Costa and Marc Wilson
Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett
We are entering a key month for the Imps, both on and off the field, starting tomorrow with our trip to Buckinghamshire. Ben Speedie is a third-year referee who has only officiated in three of our matches; the first being the 1-0 win at Crewe two years ago. He certainly impressed me on that occasion when I wrote: “David Artell won’t be lamenting a referee either, I think there was one booking all game in a match that flowed really well. Nope, no blame, no excuses, just a really, really good Lincoln City performance.” Sadly, the same cannot be said of his second game involving us, a visit to the Bank.
No, he didn’t impress me quite as much at the Bank last season when he allowed a goal from Ipswich Town striker Macauley Bonne which I felt came from a blatant push in the back on TJ Eyoma. He later ruled out our goal in that game, which I wasn’t impressed with at the time. “A good Bramall cross saw Regan Poole steaming in from the right and slamming the ball home, only for the referee to rule it out for offside,” I wrote. “Replays are inconclusive, but It was tight, very tight. Two decisions, both against us, which meant it remained 1-0 to them, not 1-0 to us. Literally, that was the difference between the two sides, calls from the referee. After the game, Michael (Appleton) called Speedie arrogant, and whilst I haven’t met the man, for Michael to be so incensed is unusual. Those in line with the ball say Poole might have been marginally off when the ball arrived, but not so when played.”
His last game involving the Imps was the 1-0 defeat against Doncaster last season, where they won with a single penalty in the second half after having one box entry. No complaints that night – we wasted chance after chance and deserved what we got. He did have a tough incident to deal with on that occasion, with a medical emergency in the crowd stopping the game for a period.
Do expect to hear his whistle a bit tomorrow. He’s eighth out of 57 in terms of fouls per game in League One this season, averaging 24.88 (the lowest is just 15). He’s fifth for fouls per tackle, so he’s not one to let anything go either. He’s 12th from 57 for penalties awarded per game, 8th out of 57 for yellow cards per game and 20th for red cards. It’s fair to say that Ben Speedie likes to be involved in the matches where he can.