Officials for the League Two match between Cheltenham Town and Yeovil Town have been published by the Football League. The match takes place at Whaddon Road on Tuesday 5th February 2019, with a 7.45p.m. kick-off. The man in charge of the fixture will be referee Tim Robinson (West Sussex). He was promoted to the Football League's referees list in the summer of 2012 and we've now had him six times as a referee. He's been placed on the PGMO Select Group 2 list since the start of the 2016-17 season - a set of fully professional officials that now largely take charge of Championship level fixtures. All four of the Tuesday night officials have come from this list.
The first time we saw him was for the November 2012 home match against Hartlepool United which we won 1-0. He produced four yellow cards on the day - one against ourselves and three against the visitors. We were relatively happy with his performance, although the visitors may hold different opinion. He can't be blamed too much for Antony Sweeney's second half goal being chalked off for an offside flag, but Hartlepool were furious when he denied them a penalty midway through the second half when Byron Webster blocked a header with his arm. Ball-to-hand ruled Mr Robinson.
He was present for the March 2013 home game against Walsall. Normally booking-free games get the thumbs up from most football supporters, but on this occasion we felt his 'hands off' approach was a little bit too extreme. We had two strong penalty shouts during the match, as James Hayter appeared to be fouled, quickly followed by Dan Burn getting wrestled to the floor. On both occasions, no decision was given, leaving manager Gary Johnson feeling that he was too inexperienced as an official to cope with what was a crucial fixture:
"He was seeing little pushes and was blowing up for pushes from a corner, but he wasn't seeing the major decisions. The referee has got to find whatever level he's at as well. The assessors have got to find out whether these first year lads that are just coming into the game can handle the big game. That's what they have to decide and we don't have a say in it. They say that we do, but we don't."
This theme somewhat repeated itself for the August 2013 match against Birmingham City - the Championship match that saw the game settled by a Dan Seaborne own goal. Although he eventually went on to book six players, his performance earlier on in the match was rather frustrating. Birmingham were one of these sides that regularly fouled their opponents, and Mr Robinson tried to opt for finger-wags, calling their captain over, and issuing last warnings to avoid dishing out yellow cards. His problem was that even after those last warnings, he continued to dish out 'last last' warnings instead of putting his foot down, and that led to the match getting a bit heated and fraught at times.
He was much better for our April 2015 home match against Sheffield United, that gave Paul Sturrock his first win as the new Yeovil Town manager. A Stephen Arthurworrey goal won the match for the Glovers, and overall the official took a back seat in the game. We can't recall it, but with us running the ball into the corner flags during second half injury time, the 90th minute booking for Josh Sheehan for timewasting looks suspiciously justified! The Sheffield Star gave him a 7/10 mark - judging by their player marks, that suggested they were happy with his performance as well.
He was then present for the September 2015 Football League Trophy tie against Barnet at Huish Park. This was a low key game of oddness - a match that Yeovil won without having a single shot on target, with an own goal settling the game. Despite the often pedestrian nature of the tie, Mr Robinson managed to produce six bookings on the night. Nothing controversial, but for a game where nothing really happened, we're not sure how he clocked up that many.
There are far more vivid memories of the January 2016 meeting that involved Mr Robinson. This was the FA Cup Second Round Replay against Carlisle United at Huish Park. Across the night we saw eight yellow cards and two red cards in a rather bad-tempered match, which we felt he was losing control of even by the end of the first half.
His big moment came in the 80th minute when he judged Jabo Ibehre's spot of WWF 'clotheslining' of Artur Krysiak to be worthy only of a yellow card - that bit of video footage flew around the world on social media after the game, in disbelief that somehow Ibehre had stayed on the pitch. Robinson's grip on the game later went entirely when Alex Lacey and Luke Joyce were dismissed in separate incidents that were far less worthy of note - needless to say, the referee was hammered by the media after the game, and deservedly so.
The most recent game was the Boxing Day 2016 home match against Exeter City. The match finished in a 0-0 draw, with his major decision coming from a handball by Exeter's Jordan Moore-Taylor inside the box. No penalty was given with probably the close range nature of the shot giving him the benefit of the doubt. Overall, we had a bit of a quibble about the number of bookings, with six players picking up yellows in what was a good-natured game.
Mr Robinson will be assisted by Andrew Fox (Coventry) and Mark Jones. The Fourth Official will be Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Link: November 2012 : Yeovil Town 1 Hartlepool United 0.
Link: March 2013 : Yeovil Town 0 Walsall 0.
Link: August 2013 : Yeovil Town 0 Birmingham City 1.
Link: April 2015 : Yeovil Town 1 Sheffield United 0.
Link: September 2015 : Yeovil Town 1 Barnet 0.
Link: January 2016 : Yeovil Town 1 Carlisle United 1 (Carlisle won 5-4 on penalties).
Link: December 2016 : Yeovil Town 0 Exeter City 0.
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