The Man in the Middle: Hull City (H)

Tomorrow is, yet again, a pivotal game in our season. The Imps do still have a faint whiff of automatic promotion, probably as faint as when you smell a barbeque a few doors down but are not quite sure which garden it is coming from.

A win tomorrow, and a Charlton win against Posh, might just take the Imps a bit closer to that charred burger and cool beer that would be a spot in the Championship. It’s a faint hope, but one we have kept alive until the last embers of the season, and one Michael and the team should be applauded for.

The last three games have seen us have three good referees in my opinion, can we hope for another tomorrow?

Referee: Sam Purkiss
Assistant: Geoffrey Liddle and Michael Chard
Fourth Official: Sebastian Stockbridge

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 scored, 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.

He did us a bit of a favour away at Portsmouth earlier in the season too, sending off Jack Whatmough in our win there, but again it was a justifiable red card that only drew complaints from the opposite side. I’ll let you decide from the still above what you think.

That red was the last of eight he dished out in matches. Since then, he officiated ten matches, only handing out more than three yellow cards on a single occasion. Since the turn of the year, he has awarded just two penalties, and he does seem to be a less fussy official than the man who will prowl the touchline, Mr Stockbridge. In total. Purkiss has shown 72 yellow cards and eight reds in his 31 matches this season.