Real EFL Opinion: Scunthorpe and Exeter beware – this is going to ruin your clash tomorrow night

Fourth place Exeter City travel to Scunthorpe United tomorrow night looking to heap more pressure on Iron boss Paul Hurst, writes JG.

Scunthorpe were battling for a place in the Championship little under two years ago, but they’re now third from bottom in the basement division, one point above bottom side Stevenage.

They’ll be hoping that the Grecians having to make a long trip north will give them a little advantage, but there’s a big unknown element to tomorrow night’s game that has to be factored in; the referee is Seb Stockbridge.

The job of referee is incredibly tough and the odd mistake will always happen, but as recently as yesterday Stockbridge was drawing the anger of League One sides. His handling of Ipswich’s 2-0 defeat against Accrington was brought into question by Tractor Boys’ fans who felt he lost control of the encounter. He failed to send Sean McConville off for a two-footed lunge but did manage to find his overworked red card twice in the latter stages of the game.

He’s drawn criticism all across his career. He may have favoured Accrington yesterday, but he was in no mood to give them an easy ride away at Lincoln in 20187/18, drawing huge criticism from Lincoln blog The Stacey West despite their team winning 2-0. In 2015 it was Portsmouth who suffered at his hands, with Paul Cook admitting he forgave the official for his blunders.

He’s angered Wolves, Plymouth Argyle, Bradford City, Crawley Town and Portsmouth (again). He’s even enraged Matt Taylor before, as recently as last season.

It is perhaps Exeter who should be most worried. He’s been described as loving to hear the roar of the crowd when he awards the home a penalty and that’s proven by the stats this season. He’s awarded the home side a penalty on seven occasions but given the visitors just two. That’s nine penalties in 12 matches by the way; quite a high stat. Last season his ratio was six to home teams, two to visitors and in 2017/18 he awarded four to one. In three seasons, that’s 17 penalties given to the home side, but just five to visiting teams.

In terms of red cards, he’s dismissed three home players in his last three seasons (two in games where he has also sent off a visiting player) and ten visiting players. Whether those numbers are coincidental or not, the last thing any manager wants to see is Seb Stockbridge in charge when they’re playing away.

Exeter City, you have been warned.


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