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Others should be given a chance instead of complacent first-team regulars

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 29, 2012


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There is no denying that Exeter City's home form is a source of great frustration and, with the season now at its halfway stage, it seems sorting that out will be Paul Tisdale's main objective as he reviews the campaign so far.

Three wins in 12 games is simply not good enough and it is only Exeter's superb away record, seven wins in 11, which is keeping them in touch with the mid-season front-runners.

Many people have asked why City are so good away and yet so poor at home. It is perhaps not as complicated or hard to work out as many people will think. For me, the Grecians are a team that play well on the counter-attack, which is why they fare well away from home.

The onus is always on the home side to do the attacking. Home fans want to see their side score goals, not defend for long periods, which suits City.

When the expectation is on them to do the attacking, however, it is a different story. The psychology of a home game is different to an away fixture and if City are setting up to play in the same manner, therein lies the problem.

They cannot hit teams on the counter attack because as we have seen, virtually every side that has come to Devon this season have set up to do what City do on their travels.

One thing that was good to see on Boxing Day was the way Exeter started the game. With a little good fortune, it would have been they who scored the first goal and when you enjoy such a period of dominance in a game, it is imperative to take advantage.

As it was, Oxford scored with their first attack and it was another soft goal from City's point of view. You can't legislate for that, but the way Exeter reacted to that goal was disappointing as well.

Oxford could easily have added more goals as the Grecians rocked and conceding the first goal in games is another issue that Tisdale has to address.

Everyone would like to see Exeter start in that manner more often because the law of averages would suggest that you are more likely to score playing that way than not. The most important thing, though, is to stay strong at the back and Exeter were not.

Another problem at home is something the players themselves have to look at. They have not been good enough. Too often this season, Exeter have played games where only three or four have done well, one or two have been average and the rest have performed poorly.

As Tisdale said after the Oxford game, he has been using the same players for home games as he has for away ones this season and perhaps it is time to shake it up at home. Certain players have been off form for too long and perhaps living off reputations, or the hype that surrounded them in their formative years.

One thing is for sure, though, and that is that there are plenty of young, hungry players waiting in the wings. Jake Reid and Jimmy Keohane brought a freshness and vibrancy on Boxing Day, which has been chronically lacking in recent home fixtures.

If Tisdale cannot get his older, more experienced players to perform in front of the home supporters, then perhaps now is the time to give youth its chance. After all, it can't get any worse on home soil and Exeter are better than their home form suggests.

Three wins in 12 tells its own story and not since November 6 have the home faithful tasted victory. Complacency breeds failure and right now, too many first-teamers are taking their place in the starting XI for granted.

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