Officials for the League Two match between Yeovil Town and Lincoln City have been published by the Football League. The match takes place on Saturday 9th December 2017, with a 3.00p.m. kick-off at Huish Park. The man in charge of the fixture will be referee Lee Collins (Surrey).
He was promoted to the Football League's referees' list over the summer of 2011, and since then we've had him six times as a man in the middle. He was only promoted to the National Assistant Referee's Group for the start of the 2008-09 season, and so has been enjoying a swift rise through the ranks.
Mr Collins was present for the October 2011 home match against Leyton Orient that ended in a 2-2 draw. Considering he ended up giving both sides a penalty each, you'd think we would have been far more opinionated about his performance, particularly as the second one was a late decision that cost us two points. However, with one a handball in our favour, and the other a foul inside the box by Marek Stech, match reports and our memory of the incidents are that he got them both right, whilst the Western Gazette says he "had no choice but to point to the spot (for the second penalty) in a game he officiated well." Sometimes penalties aren't controversial.
We then had him for the League Cup First Round tie against Southend United back in August 2013. Our recollection is that he didn't have too bad a match from our point of view, but seemed to be making a few decisions that raised the hackles of home supporters, with them particularly unhappy about one Joel Grant tackle just before half time that he dished out a yellow for, when they were hoping for a red. He booked four of our players, but from our point of view we accepted his decisions. The Western Gazette were a bit critical of him saying he "struggled to keep a lid on a match where Southend seemed intent on provoking a reaction from their opponents. Awarded several yellow cards for trivial infringements, allowing others to go unpunished."
We had him twice during the 2014-15 season. The first was the League One away match against Gillingham. Like the Leyton Orient game, he gave two penalties, with one for each side, and to be honest the one that we got was a soft one. Not that we capitalised on it, with Kieffer Moore's weak effort saved. If that decision went for us, then the free kick that he awarded that led to Gillingham's opening goal was the reverse, with him interpreting Nathan Ralph and Danny Kedwell's coming together as a foul against the Glovers, when we saw it more of Kedwell's doing - Joe Martin's free kick set Gillingham on their way. Gillingham's second goal came from the penalty spot - for that one we had no complaints - Chris Weale saved it, but Kedwell took the rebound and converted.
The second match saw him visit Huish Park for the March 2015 visit of Oldham Athletic. He certainly didn't have a quiet game, dishing out seven yellow cards, two of which resulted in a red card putting Oldham down to ten men. We may be biased, but we thought the dismissal of Brian Wilson was a superb decision - the former Bristol City player committed a bad foul whilst already on a caution, but referee Collins waved play on, allowing Yeovil an advantage. A minute later, play stopped and he had the good memory to pick out the correct player and make sure the foul didn't go unpunished. He also (potentially) deserved praise for Yeovil's winning goal, where he could have easily blown up to award us a penalty - he didn't and James Hayter swept home the loose ball. It may be that he didn't think it was a penalty, but his body language at the time implied that if Hayter hadn't converted, he would have blown up, implying another good advantage played.
During the 2015-16 season, he was in charge for the home matches against Plymouth Argyle. There were two of them, as he was the official who decided that our planned January 2016 meeting couldn't go ahead due to a waterlogged pitch, and he was still on the list when the game was rearranged for the February Tuesday night game. Although he booked six players that night - three for each side - we can't recall too much to shout about his performance. Some of the Argyle bookings were down to the pace that Yeovil started the game at, and when the balance of play swung in the other direction during the second period, we started picking up a few ourselves. A couple of months later, he turned up again for the 0-0 draw against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park - in a 0-0 draw with two bookings a-piece he appears to have got through the 90 minutes without being noticed.
Mr Collins will be assisted by Christopher Wade (Hampshire) and Kevin Howick (Oxfordshire). The Fourth Official will be Simon Shaw (Gloucestershire).
Link: October 2011 : Yeovil Town 2 Leyton Orient 2.
Link: August 2013 : Southend United 0 Yeovil Town 1.
Link: August 2014 : Gillingham 2 Yeovil Town 0.
Link: March 2015 : Yeovil Town 2 Oldham Athletic 1.
Link: February 2016 : Yeovil Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0.
Link: April 2016 : Wycombe Wanderers 0 Yeovil Town 0.
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