Ref Watch: Cheltenham Town (H)

Credit Graham Burrel

Assistants: Grant Taylor and Jacob Lehane
Fourth Official: Wayne Grunnill

Andrew Kitchen is a second-year referee, which usually means there’s very little for us to draw upon. However, he has reffed a few of our matches, the first being our 3-0 win against Bradford in the EFL Trophy last season. I don’t recall anything particularly bad from him during that game, which meant I wasn’t overly worried when he popped up as the official for the visit of Cambridge to the Bank.

He really impressed me in that game (the one we lost 1-0), to a point where I felt we’d got away with a few bits. “I actually thought we got away with quite a bit in terms of pulling and fouling; referee Andrew Kitchen let the game flow, allowed some fouls to slip by, but not to a point where the game got overly tasty,” I wrote. “Until one key moment, which I’ll come to, he was a 10/10 referee. As a first-year official, I sense big things for him in the future.” That key moment was their goal, where I felt a free-kick had been awarded wrongly for a foul of TJ Eyoma. However, one decision certainly didn’t make me question the official, as it wasn’t clear-cut.

Not the most testing of afternoons – Credit Graham Burrell

He was also in charge of our final day victory over Crewe, Michael Appleton’s final game in charge, and it didn’t stand out (although it was more like a friendly), and this season he took charge of the victory against Everton Under 21s in the EFL Trophy, a game which I’m sure didn’t test him too much.

He really does like to let things go – in his League One fixtures this season he is 57/60 for fouls awarded per game, and only one of two officials in the lowest 12 with nine matches or more under his belt. He’s 59/60 for fouls per tackle as well, which means this man almost has an allergic reaction to blowing his whistle. He has awarded one penalty in his ninem matches in League One, and only four all season (others coming for Aston Villa as they beat Bolton 4-1 in the EFL Cup, and one in the final minute of Carlisle’s 5-1 hammering of Barrow). Curiously, he’s 8/60 for red cards per game, with two in his last three League One matches, but a more respectable 42/60 for yellows.