The Man in the Middle – Portsmouth

Attention now turns to our huge clash with Portsmouth, an indicator of whether we can remain genuine title challengers at the top of the division. 

Lincoln City haven’t won at Fratton Park in my lifetime, a record that we all hope comes to an end on Tuesday evening. It isn’t expected to be a brutal game at all, but it is nice to see we have a referee we are already familiar with, Sam Purkiss.

Assistants: Greg Read and Paul Kelly
Fourth Official: Sam Allison

Purkiss is a second-year referee who made his way into National League the year after we were promoted. One of his earliest decisions involving former Imps was to send off Jack Muldoon as Aldershot beat Fylde 2-1 in 2018/17. His first League One game came last season as he oversaw Wimbledon beat Portsmouth 1-0 (a result I’d love to see repeated for us), and across his 28 games, he showed 83 yellow cards and just two red.

He took charge of our 2-1 win against Wigan at the end of last year, and I had no complaints back then. He did award us a free-kick on the edge of the area from which we socred, but it was justified and he managed the game well. He only handed out two yellow cards, a reflection of how the game was played as much as one his willingness to book. Do be aware, Darren Ferguson recently criticised the official for allowing Darren Prattley ’11 fouls’ before booking him, so he might be a bit too lenient, although Peterborough felt the same when they played us (maybe rightly so).

In total this season, Purkiss has dished out 47 yellow cards in 19 games, with seven reds.