Ref Watch: Cambridge United (A)

City are finally back in League One action this weekend, looking to pick up the first win on the road this season.

The opponents are Cambridge United, a side who have not beaten us on their home ground since August 2013; a game in which Tom Champion, Nathan Arnold and Delano Sam-Yorke played against the Imps. Late on in that game, Alan Power was sent off. Will we see a card-happy official this weekend too?


Assistants: Andy Bennett and Darren Blunden

Fourth Official: Daniel Cook

Purkiss is a third-year referee who made his way into National League the year after we were promoted. He took charge of our 2-1 win against Wigan at the end of 2020, 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 his willingness to book.

Credit Graham Burrell – Purkiss v Hull

The final time he officiated a City game came as we went down 2-1 to Hull City, a game that saw him get a bit of stick as he didn’t send George Honeyman off for a second bookable offence, and they scored from a seemingly high boot. Of that game, I wrote:  “I didn’t think Sam Purkiss was a poor ref, he let things go which others might have punished, but if it goes in our favour, then we’d be raving about him. Yes, Callum Morton got a battering at times, and maybe Magennis’s boot was high for the goal, but flip the teams around, put us as the scorers and their centre forward as the one getting roughed up a bit, and nobody complains.”

He did us a bit of a favour away at Portsmouth last 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. That red was the last he dished out to anyone in all competitions, a run extending 13 games of last season and a further six this season. So far, he’s issued 22 cards from six matches this season and awarded four penalties. Here’s something that might be interesting – in two matches, he has awarded team a penalty, then given one to the opposition later in the game.