Ref Watch: Oxford United (H)


Assistants: Abbas Khan and Johnathon Bickerdike

Fourth Official: Michael George

It’s an interesting one this week, as Lewis Smith has not officiated a Lincoln City game. One of his assistants has – Abbas Khan was the fourth official who had to take over during the lifeless 0-0 draw with Charlton back in October.

Smith is actually still on the National League list, having been at that level for four seasons. He’s dipped into the Football League on a few occasions this season, but this is likely to be the biggest match of his career so far in terms of the two teams. His other League One fixtures were MK Dons against Forest Green, and Accrington against Wycombe. As such, it is hard to get much of an indication of the type of referee he is from his stats, as he hasn’t had enough games to build a clear picture.

What I do know is that in 24 matches across all competitions this campaign, he hasn’t shown a single red card. His average for yellows is 3.25, which would leave him 38th in the League One ranking, were they all at our level. As it is, his average in League One is more than that, 4.25, leaving him 11th, but that is only across two matches. He’s also 11th for fouls per game and 16th for fouls per tackle, so he’s fairly consistent. He’s only awarded a single penalty in his Football League matches, and if this is anything to go by from the recent Notts County and Dagenham game, it has to be fairly blatant for him to point to the spot.

It could be a tasty fixture, by the way – in 19 matches between Oxford and us since the turn of the century, there have been six penalties scored (not sure if there’s been any missed in that time), and a whopping nine red cards, including three in one game. That a penalty scored in one game out of three and a red card in roughly every other encounter. The last three fixtures alone have produced three penalties and a red card.