Ref Watch: Exeter City (A)

Assistants: Robert Hyde and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official : Andrew Fox

Darren Middleton was nothing short of excellent in midweek, a no-nonsense official who let the game flow. Can we expect the same from Jeremy Simpson,?

Possibly not. Simpson is an old-school referee who has been blowing the whistle since 2009. In his second match ever, he sent off Imps legend Alan Marriott, albeit whilst he was playing for Mansfield in the Blue Square Premier. His first game involving the Imps came in 2011/12, as we went down 1-0 to Cambridge, with Tom Shaw scoring for them. At the end of that season, Simpson moved up to the Football League. We didn’t.

Late controversy the last time in 2019 – Courtesy Graham Burrell

Since then, he’s mainly been reffing Championship games, although he was in the middle for our 2-2 draw with Stevenage, where Ilias Chair bagged twice in three mad final minutes. He was also the ref that sent off Adam Jackson as we went down 2-1 to Bristol Rovers, and although I moaned about a penalty that wasn’t given in the first half of that game, there were no complaints about the one that was given. His last outing against us was the Chris Maguire game, the one game where Maguire turned up. We beat Sunderland 3-1 that evening, a rare highlight in a drab season.

This season, Simpson has mainly reffed in the Championship, issuing a single red card. He’s fifth highest for fouls per game, but when you take out officials who have only had a single game, he is the highest. He’s second highest for fouls per tackle but 33/37 for yellows per game. Expect a bitty game, punctuated by fouls but not punished by cards.