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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Purdie And League Two

Rob Purdie Talking to Jamie Pitman at a Pre-Season Friendly at Forest Green in July 2006

Rob Purdie's first spell at Edgar Street was for five seasons, the last of which was when Hereford United were playing in League Two.

He signed a contract in June 2006 and went on to play a big part in the season. 

The first League game was at Stockport and Purdie was in the starting eleven. Hereford won the game 2-0.

'A minute before the hour mark though, The Bulls had bagged a second. Purdie swung in a corner and Mkandawire sailed in unmarked and thumped in a header from close range, in front of a delighted away following of over 1,000.'

Next was a home game against Lincoln. Although Hereford lost, Purdie was on the scoresheet.

Purdie Scores from the Spot - Picture Taken by Andy Compton
Sills was fouled in the box and Rob Purdie hammered in the penalty to make it 2-1.

One of the early highlights was a 3-1 win over Coventry City in the Carling Cup

"I don't think we could have played any better than we did. I thought we bettered them all over the park," said Purdie afterwards.

"We have got to make sure we take that into our League games now." 

Purdie scored from the spot in Hereford's 3-1 win over Hartlepool.

'Nelson was covering as his 'keeper came to collect, but he lifted his arm to block off Fleetwood and a penalty was awarded. Rob Purdie stepped up clamly and placed the ball into the top corner in front of the Meadow End.' 

And the following Saturday Purdie scored another penalty. This one at Rochdale.

'Rob Purdie stood up in front of the off-putting home crowd, and converted cooly with a finish down the middle.' 

Purdie was becoming a penalty specialist. However one against Leicester in the Carling Cup wasn't enough to keep Hereford in the competition and another at Bristol Rovers still saw Rovers win the game. Yet another not enough at Grimsby.

Onwards to MK Dons and this time a Purdie penalty in a 3-1 win.

The FA Cup was proving to be a useful competition for Hereford that season, They dispatched Shrewsbury after a replay and on December 2nd thrashed Port Vale 4-0. 

And once again Purdie scored from the spot. Two minutes later he doubled his talley.

Celebration Time for Rob Purdie

'Up stepped Purdie who, as expected, made no mistake from the spot, retaining his 100% penalty record this season.

If the 710 supporters were thinking about leaving in disgust, Purdie made a number of their minds up two minutes later as he made it 3-0, with his ninth goal of the season. He raced onto Connell's pass to the right, where he found himself in acres of space. He advanced into the box, took a touch and played what appeared to be a pretty poor low left footed cross. However, a defender took a swipe at it, missed it completely, and the ball curled into the far bottom corner.'

"I've now equalled my best goal scoring season with my second goal as well," said Purdie. "It's great to get penalties but I'm more happy with scoring from open play."

Purdie's Penalty Against Peterborough was Saved - Picture Copyright Andy Compton
December 9th and Peterborough were at Edgar Street. Another penalty for Purdie but for the first time that season this one was saved.

Hereford were mid-table for much of January and February. Goals were at a premium. 

Purdie missed a good chance in the FA Cup at Bristol Rovers on third round day to level the scores.

"On another day that goes flying in the top corner," said Mkandawire.

"I think it's just bobbled before Purds [Rob Purdie] has hit it; it's unlucky, but it just wasn't our day today."

Purdie was in the starting eleven for nearly every fixture but not always in the same position. For example on February 24th against Rochdale he played left-back. 

As March went off Hereford drifted down the table and there was little to play for except pride and a contract for the following season.

"Most of us are on one-year contracts and will be aiming to prove we deserve offers of extensions," Rob Purdie told the Western Daily Press.

"We've drifted further away from the play-off positions but we still believe we have the ability to put a good run together." 

It wasn't to be and after a 3-0 defeat by Peterborough at Edgar Street Purdie,as ever, was forthright.

"We didn't touch the ball before the first goal.

"You can't do that against a side in this League that are in the top half, especially at home on a pitch that played quite well."

The following week defeat at Edgar Street by Shrewsbury and whilst Purdie had been voted player of the year by HUISA, he wasn't that happy.

"It's been an up and down season for me with the fans.

"There are two things which obviously stick out in my mind. One of course is getting player of the year which I'm delighted with and the other ones will be the bad times when I came on against Shrewsbury in the LDV and got booed by a section of our support."

And then hints of an exit from Edgar Street.

"A few people have been offered something. The gaffer will be trying to keep the nucleus of the squad and trying to build on what we have got here.

"I'm speaking to the gaffer this week and then we'll see from there." 

By the end of the season Purdie had  played in all but two games this season to be the most 'visible' player, racking up 49 starts and two sub appearances.  By this time he was one of only 13 players to have made over 200 appearances for the club since 1972.

On May 15th it was revealed that Purdie had been offered a further contract. On June 15th Graham Turner said that Purdie will give 'a definite answer will be given next Monday'.

Then on June 22nd a move to Darlington was confirmed

Manager Dave Penney announced: "Rob is exactly the sort of player we are looking for to take this football club forward. Although a midfielder he can play virtually anywhere on the pitch." 

After five seasons Purdie had decided to move on. It probably hadn't even crossed his mind that he might come back at some stage.