Date:Tuesday December 29 2009
We have now passed the halfway point of the Football League season. After two successive promotions, Exeter City have found League 1 challenging.
The Grecians have struggled to pick up points away from their St. James Park home, with just eight points collected from twelve games. However, Paul Tisdale`s side have been hard to beat at home, with just two defeats from twelve home games.
Six of those games have been draws, with four of those points being won with late equalisers. This began in the first home game against Norwich City, where a Richard Logan header in the last fifteen minutes secured a share of the spoils. Equalisers have followed in the final five minutes at home to Swindon, Wycombe, and Milwall. This testifies to the great strength the Grecians have in fighting to the last whistle in attacking the Big Bank. The fans have and have had a large role to play in this. In the last home game against fellow strugglers Gillingham, City once again bombarded the opposition defence in the last fifteen minutes of the game, and were unfortunate to not score a valuable winner in their bid to beat the drop.
Paul Tisdale`s side have not been outclassed at home, with single goal defeats to MK Dons and Brighton the only blotches on a strong showing at St. James Park. Taking Tisdale`s reign as a whole, the defeat at home to Gus Poyet`s Brighton was just his tenth home defeat in nearly 80 league matches in charge. That is a very credible record, as was the extraordinary record of well over 100 league games in succession without defeat. This shows the character of the side, and their ability to bounce back from disappointing performances and results. This ability will be important in City`s aim to consolidate their position in the third tier of English Football. Nevertheless, the recent four game losing spell was unprecedented for Tisdale`s reign, and the rigours of this challenging league will continue to throw up situations where the team will have to show plenty of character and resolve.
Another fact from the past that lies in City`s favour, is that in Paul Tisdale`s three previous seasons in charge, the Grecians have noticeably improved in performance and results in the second half of the season. Whether a similar pattern follows in the first half of 2010, especially with the team battling to stay up, rather than going for promotion, remains to be seen. For my part, I firmly believe the Grecians will remain in League 1 for the 2010/2011 season, and that safety will be secured before the final game at home to Huddersfield.
Date:Tuesday December 29 2009
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