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I have to admit to being somewhat surprised when I learned that 36-year-old Craig Pawson, from South Yorkshire, would referee our televised Championship clash against Brighton at the Amex Stadium tomorrow.

Pawson will be refereeing Burnley for an eighth time tomorrow but it will be his second game that will be at the forefront. It was the same fixture four seasons ago, played on the Saturday before Christmas when, in the first twelve minutes of the game, he reduced Brighton to nine men, showing red cards to both Romain Vincelot and Ashley Barnes.

Gus Poyet stormed out for a while and we won 1-0 with Kieran Trippier’s first league goal for us but were thankful for Craig Mackail-Smith not being able to hit a barn door in the closing stages of the game, the striker missing three more than decent chances.

The television footage showed that he, with his officials, got the decisions correct, but it is a game long remembered by Brighton fans who believed they’d been hard done to.

Either side of that he had difficult games. He turned a League Cup game against Burton our way with a poor penalty decision for an offence outside the box and the home game against Millwall, when he was card happy, saw him award a goal for us before then disallowing it for offside despite the assistant not having flagged. In a televised Premier League game this season, where I can’t remember, he did exactly the same.

Since that Millwall game he’s done well enough in a home game against Blackburn, when he sent off Lee Williamson, and three games last season away from home, at Swansea and Arsenal in the Premier League and the FA Cup replay at Spurs.

His performances to date see him 36th in RATE THE REF with a rating of 58.75 out of 100.

It was 2008/09 when he first became a Football League referee, his first game a 0-0 draw in League Two between Grimsby and Rochdale at Blundell Park. He got one Championship game that season, Coventry’s 2-1 home win against Blackpool, and his first Premier League game was just over three years ago. That was a 1-0 home win for Swansea against Newcastle.

He’s very much a Premier League referee these days and 23 of his 30 domestic games this season have been in the top division. With four cup ties to add to that, he’s refereed just three Football League games, all of them in the Championship.

Overall this season, in those 30 games, he’s given out 94 yellow cards but just three red cards. The last of those red cards was in the Championship and it was a correct decision to send off Ben Gibson in Middlesbrough’s recent 1-0 defeat at Leeds. Of his yellow cards, 36 have gone to home team players with 58 to away team players.

His last game came on 19th March. It was Watford’s 2-1 home defeat against Stoke that saw Allan-Romeo Nyom, Etienne Capoue and Adlene Guedioura of Watford yellow carded along with Stoke’s Jonathan Walters.

Craig Pawson is a much improved referee than he was some four years ago and I don’t expect to see two red cards in the first twelve minutes this time.

The assistant referees are Adam Nunn (Wiltshire) and Andrew Fox (Warwickshire). The fourth official is Football League Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire) who hasn’t refereed us since an away game at Reading in February 2012.

Previous Burnley Games

SeasonOpponentsVResYRBurnley Players Carded
2011/12Burtonh6-340Y: Grant, Elliott
2011/12Brightona1-032Y: Edgar, Paterson
2012/13Millwallh2-280Y: Marney, Mee, Wallace, Vokes
2013/14Blackburnh1-141Y: Marney, Duff, Mee
2014/15Swanseaa0-130Y: Duff
2014/15Arsenala0-310Y: Boyd
2014/15Tottenhama2-430Y: Keane, Arfield
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