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Monday, February 06, 2017

Purdie's Second Season At Edgar Street


Rob Purdie Pleased To Score Against Shrewsbury In March 2004 - Picture From Andy Compton
Continuing BN's tribute to Rob Purdie who on Saturday is set to make his 400th appearance in a Hereford shirt, we look at his second season at Edgar Street, 2003/4.

Purdie spoke to BN at the club's open day at the end of July.

"I've been doing alright this pre-season," said the ex-Leicester City youngster. "I've been playing up-front, which is not unfamiliar to me as I played there with Leicester when I was younger, but I'm hoping to try and hold down a position more than I was last season. I think with the way the team's been playing, we've got a good chance this season to get into the promotion places.

"I feel most comfortable in centre midfield but if I play on either of the wings or up-front, I'm not bothered. I'm happy to play anywhere as long as I play more games than I did last season." 

Purdie's season got off to a good start, 87 minutes in Hereford's 3-1 victory at Tamworth with an assist.

Even better, three days later Purdie scored twice against Forest Green.

'Jamie Pitman knocked a ball over the top for Rob Purdie to beat the offside trap. From twelve yards, the ex-Leicester City youngster smashed the ball into the roof of the net.'

And later: 'On fifty-four minutes Ben Smith threaded the ball through to Purdie. He went on a cracking run before firing home from fifteen yards.'

The 2003/04 will be remembered as the one in which Hereford United scored 103 goals yet failed to win promotion.

Purdie played a big part in their success but missed a few games in October because of injury.

However on November 25 Purdie was on the scoresheet in Hereford's 7-1 hammering of Halifax.

'Steve Guinan's header found Purdie midway through the half and he charged forward with a low drive from just outside the box.'

Another goal for Purdie came in another 7-1 win just days before Christmas, this time at Forest Green.  And on Boxing Day a vital goal against Exeter.

'After the restart, United looker brighter. Rob Purdie found the side netting just three minutes in, and made no mistake four minutes later when he struck a screamer from the left side of the area, sailing past James Bittner into the top corner to open the scoring.'

Away from Hereford, Purdie made his debut for the England National Game XI in a match against Italy on February 11th with a substitute appearance.

There's one particular game supporters will remember from that season. One Friday night in East London with the Sky Cameras in attendance, Hereford played at Dagenham. It turned out to be all one way traffic with the Bulls winning 9-0. Purdie played the whole 90 minutes and whilst he wasn't on the scoresheet he assisted in several of the goals. 

The following Tuesday Hereford defeated Telford 3-0 and afterwards Purdie spoke to BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"It's more important than hitting twelve in two games. If we can come away from home and keep clean sheets then we definitely have a chance of winning the title."

And Hereford were keeping up the pressure with Purdie fully involved.

On March 20th another victory, this time at Margate. The BN headline say it all.

Star-man Purdie seals United victory

'Rob Purdie, particularly in the first half, did well to open up the flanks for Hereford and the team as a whole will be delighted with this outcome.'

Even better a week later when Shrewsbury came to Edgar Street, Purdie scored Hereford's first goal in their 2-1 win over their A49 neighbours with just three minutes on the clock.

"I don't think we could have got any better start," said Steve Guinan. "I don't think Shrewsbury had had that many touches. It was a great finish from Rob."

Another important goal scored by Purdie was at Aldershot in Hereford's victory on April 12th.

'Graham Turner's men could not have started better going ahead in under three minutes. Rob Purdie smashed the ball into the roof of Nikki Bull's net.'

The League season ended with Hereford defeating leaders Chester City 2-1 in front of 7240 supporters and then the play-offs which are probably better forgotten.  

Purdie made 34 appearances in the season and scored 9 goals. He signed a further contract on May 4th.