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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Purdie's Seventh Season With Hereford


Continuing BN's look at the career of Rob Purdie it's onto the 2011/12 season.

After rejoining Hereford United in the middle of the previous season but not playing regularily, Purdie played a lot more football in 2011/12.

Hereford had a poor start to their league campaign and were soon bottom of the table.

Purdie tweeted: 'So far it's not been good enough n everyone at the club will work hard to put that right. Thanks for the msgs of support, they mean a lot!'

An injury meant Purdie missing Hereford's first points of the season, a draw at Wimbledon. And he also missed a Carling Cup Tie at Aston Villa. And a Paint Trophy game at Bournemouth. And several other games.

He returned to the starting eleven for the visit of Gillingham which Hereford lost 6-1. Highlight of the game was a dispute betwen Purdie and Harry Pell over who should take a penalty. In the end Purdie took it and missed. 

It took to mid-October for Hereford to win two games (Bradford and Barnet) and keep two clean sheets one after the other.

"We've needed to improve our home form and give the fans something to cheer about," said Purdie
 
"I think we've been really solid in the last two games. I think Dave (Cornell) has probably had to make one save in two games."

The run didn't last. On October 29th another defeat this time at Torquay by 2-0. And it might have been 3-0.

'Torquay, however, still looked the more likely to score and would have done had it not been for an incredible double block on the goal-line by Rob Purdie.' 

Whilst Purdie was now in the team for nearly every game, results were poor.  But he did score a penalty against Burton on November 19th although Hereford lost the game 3-2.

'As the ball was played in, Elder was baulked as he made a turn, and the referee awarded a penalty. Up stepped Rob Purdie, showing little in the way of nerves, and blasted a low shot past Ross Atkins.' 

By the end of November Hereford had only scored ten goals and Purdie just one. And another home defeat, to Rotherham on December 10th, saw the club drop to 21st place.

"We are too easy to conceed against at the moment."

So unlike Purdie, he collected his fifth yellow card of the season against Accrington on December 30th.

Gary Peters was trying to pull the strings at Edgar Street and in a fans forum he was asked about having two 'small' players in mid-field.

"It doesn't mean if you're 6ft 2in then you're tough and if you're 5ft 6 in you're not, that's rubbish. That's nothing to do with manning up.

"We've got two players there in Purdie and Clist who will run and chase and work as hard as they possibly can."

Being suspended Purdie missed a 2-0 win at Burton, Hereford's first in ten games.

An unexpected draw at Oxford on January 21st lifted spirits. Purdie played at left back.

'At the other end, Purdie shows his quality by superbly blocking a strike by Constable after good work down the left-wing by Alfie Potter.

Purdie Heading Goalwards Against Cheltenham - Andy Compton Photo
Purdie was man of the match against Cheltenham on February 11th. He provided 'the few moments of quality' in the 1-1 draw.

Another man of the match award for Purdie, not surprising given he scored Hereford's goal, in the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Swindon. Hereford were 21st in the table at this time. 

A draw at Bradford in front of 17014 did help confidence. But despite nine goals in the game, including a Purdie penalty, the Bulls lost 5-4 at Gillingham three days later and dropped to 22nd.

'The Bulls were quickly off the mark when Barkhuizen broke into the box in the second minute and was felled by Jack Evans.  Purdie stepped up and coolly stroked the ball in from the spot.' 

Purdie's nose was broken during the game and, unlike him, he missed a second penalty after Barkhuizen was brought down.

"All the players fault tonight, gotta have a look at ourselves properly and obvs myself for the miss...broken nose aswell doesn't help"  

On March 3rd Hereford managed a home win, against Wimbledon, their first since the previous October.

"It's massive for us," said Purdie afterwards.

"I've still got my broken nose from Tuesday and I took one on the head today which I can't quite remember about."

Manager Jamie Pitman was sacked the following Monday with Richard O'Kelly brought in to replace him. Pitman became coach.

A win at Morecambe a week later took off some of the pressure but a defeat to Southend put Hereford down to 23rd position. Worse was the news that Purdie had sustained a hamstring injury during the game and would miss several games.

 

He didn't start a game until April 21st which was a goal-less home draw against Northampton and was subbed late in the game.

"I enjoyed the second half, didn't want to come off but I started to get a little bit of cramp in my calves and I didn't want to be carried in the last ten minutes when we were pushing for a goal."

A week later a 3-0 win at Crawley. And hope that relegation could be avoided. It all depended on results on the last day.

Rob Purdie And Harry Pell Thank Delroy Facey For His Goal - picture copyright Andy Compton
Hereford won their game 3-2, and Purdie was one of the goalscocers, was it wasn't enough as Barnet defeated Burton.

 

After the game Purdie spoke to Keith Hall

"I haven't really thought about my future because we've been so focused on the last couple of games."

Purdie was later named player of the season. 

By the end of May Martin Foyle was in charge. However Purdie turned down an initial offer and then a second offer.

Graham Turner had enticed him to Shrewsbury.

Purdie gave his reasons on Twitter.


"So now that it's out there I wanna say it wasn't an easy decision this season but something I couldn't turn down after my last chance to play in League 1 got taken away from me through injury. I've always wanted to test myself as high as I can in my career. I would like to think that most can wish me as much luck as I was HUFC this season. 
"Also I believe the appointment of Martin Foyle is a very good one and I thank him for his offer which in a year or 2 would of been perfect for me, I think he will do well and hopefully get Hereford back on track I'm looking forward to the new season now and hope that both teams achieve what they can. 

"And thanks for everyones support over my time at Hereford, all 6 and a half seasons and I have been and would continue to be proud to wear the Hereford shirt. It has meant a lot to me."
Twelve months later he was back at Edgar Street.