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Rochdale 0 v 0 Barrow
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 12th March 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Refwatch: Rochdale v Barrow
Tuesday, 8th Mar 2022 09:50 by TVOS

Charles Breakspear will appear at Spotland for the second time this term when Dale entertain Barrow on Saturday.

The Surrey-based official is in his ninth season on the National List and having not ventured to our little corner of Lancashire before, he was appointed to Dale’s home game against Tranmere in September.

Charles has been one of the top-rated EFL referees in recent years and has been involved in the League Two play-offs in the last three campaigns.

He was also the man in the middle for Sunderland v Tranmere in last season’s Papa John’s Trophy Final at Wembley.

When a fixture is a local derby or has some other potential issues attached to it, you often find referees being appointed from outside the normal geographical area, particularly if they are near the top of the ratings.

It could be coincidental, of course, or Charles could be up north on business, but given the potential “relegation six-pointer” nature of this match, it would seem it has been earmarked for one such official.

Despite this being only Mr Breakspear’s second Spotland appointment, we have seen him six times on the road.

The first time was at Colchester in December 2014, where Keith Hill’s men were impressive 4-1 winners.

Two years later, Charles refereed Dale’s 1-1 draw at Maidstone in the FA Cup and a further 12 months after that, he took charge of a 2-1 midweek defeat at Charlton.

In September 2018, the Surrey whistler was the referee for Dale’s trip to Coventry, where Calvin Andrew scored the only goal of the game.

Calvin then put through his own goal at Charlton on the final day of that season, where Charles was in the middle as Dale went down to a 4-0 defeat.

Breakspear was then the referee at MK Dons in January 2020, where his last-minute penalty award handed the home side a 2-1 win over Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale.

All those matches have been free from controversy and a high card count, which goes against the reputation Charles has for being a strong disciplinarian on the field of play.

This hasn’t materialised to any great degree this term, as his 29 games have seen 130 yellow cards, but only three reds.

One of those reds came in Mr Breakspear’s last game on 1st March, which was Newport v Forest Green.

Photo: Action Images

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