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Lewis Smith refereed for the first time in the Premier League last Saturday when he took charge of the game between Fulham and Aston Villa at Craven Cottage, and seven days later he gets his second top flight game when we take on Crystal Palace tomorrow at Selhurst Park.

It really has been an amazing year and a half for Smith who kicked off last season with the Yeovil v Wrexham game in the National League and then, in mid-November, he was given the League Two game between Grimsby and Doncaster. He continued his season with a mix of games in the National League, League Two and League One, a season that ended with a play-off game between Woking and Bromley, followed by his first Championship appointment when he took charge of Watford ‘s 2-0 home win against Stoke.

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He hasn’t dropped back into the National League at all this season and he’s operated mainly in the bottom two divisions of the Football League, occasionally being allocated a Championship game, a total of five with three of those since mid-January. On Tuesday, 13th February, he refereed the League Two game between Barrow and Forest Green at Holker Street but four days later he was in the Premier League at Fulham and his performance did not go down too well with home fans who treated him to chants of: “You’re not fit to referee.”

He became the fifth Premier League newbie this season, following in the footsteps of Josh Smith, Sam Barrott, Rebecca Welch and Sam Allison, last week and, at 30, he became the youngest referee to step into the Premier League since Michael Oliver in 2010. It has been considered a huge surprise to see him allocated another Premier League game just seven days after the first when it has been reported that his game management was far from satisfactory alongside a number of concerning decisions.

His season to date has seen him referee 35 games of which six have been in the Championship, seven in League One, eleven in League Two and ten in the cup competitions alongside last week’s Premier League game. In those games there have been 136 yellow and five red cards. Of those yellows, there have been 68 for both home and away players. The five players he’s sent off were all in October and November which included Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan in their 1-0 Championship defeat at Bristol City.

He carded seven players at Fulham but that wasn’t his most recent game. He was in charge of the FL Trophy semi-final between Blackpool and Peterborough this week at Bloomfield Road. There were three yellow cards in this game for Blackpool pair Richard O’Donnell and Callum Connolly along with Peterborough’s Jeando Fuchs.

Darren England will be the fourth official at Selhurst Park and he refereed our home defeat against Spurs this season. On VAR it will be Michael Salisbury who has refereed two Burnley games this season, the most recent being the League Cup defeat at Everton.

Match Officials

Referee: Lewis Smith
Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin & Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: Darren England
VAR: Michael Salisbury
Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood

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