Ref Watch: Bolton Wanderers (A)

Assistants: Conor Brown and Lisa Rashid
Fourth Official: Scott Simpson

Will Finnie came through the National League quickly and made a lasting impression. In 2018/19 he refereed 22 matches, sending off no fewer than nine players. I think some of the National League managers probably felt happy to see the back of him, but his officiating earned him a spot on the EFL list.

He calmed down, three reds in 27 matches in 2019/20 saw to that, and we had just once. He took charge of our Boxing Day 2019 defeat at the Kassam, as we went down 1-0 to Oxford. There was an incident in that game where John Mousinho could have been sent off for tugging back Tyler Walker as he went through on goal. At the time, some called for a red, but Finnie aimed to keep it 11v11 unless absolutely necessary and awarded a yellow.

Credit Graham Burrell

On two occasions he flashed a red in a game involving us a couple of seasons ago, showing one to Nathan Thompson in the incident that saw us awarded a penalty against Peterborough at the Bank. As you know, we missed the penalty and the referee came under fire from their manager, but I felt he had a decent game. In fact, I said this of him: “I felt Finnie had a superb game, allowing it to flow but also being strict enough with his cards to ensure it didn’t boil over. Hats off to him for that, it is easy to lash out at officials when they’re bad, but it is important to praise them when they do well.”

Towards the end of that season, he also sent off Ed Upson as we beat Bristol Rovers 1-0 at their place, again I had few complaints. The last time we had him was away at Oxford in Michael Appleton’s last season, where he awarded both sides a penalty. It’s odd, because he comes across as a balanced referee, but it seems whenever the Imps are in the mix, something happens!