PHIL Edwards believes that Burton Albion’s exceptional home form last season has directly led to their struggles at the Pirelli Stadium this campaign.
Versatile defender Edwards grabbed an 89th-minute winner at Exeter City on Saturday as the Brewers picked up their fifth away win of the season – a total it took them all year to accumulate in 2012/13.
Then, their run to the League Two play-offs was built on having the best home record in the Football League, but this campaign they have only won twice in Burton.
And Edwards said: “Teams are coming there to stifle us out.
“The gaffer has hammered home that we had one of the best home records last year, and we want to get back to that.
“We saw against Torquay (on Tuesday night) that they set up defensively, with two holding midfielders, and they were very hard to break down.
“We’ve just got to find ways to adapt to that.
“Our away form has been one of the best in the league, but your home form is your bread and butter, and we’ve got to improve that.
“To win any away game is hard in this league, so to win five is great.”
Edwards’ late winner – his first for the club since joining from Rochdale in the summer – gave the Grecians little time to respond.
And the 27-year-old said: “Obviously it’s always good to win a game, but to score that late on was absolutely brilliant.
“You’re not always going to play well, and it’s a tough place to come, but we got the three points and we’re overwhelmed.
“It was my first goal, but I’ve had a few chances and I probably should have scored a couple more.
“But I’m happy with that one to win the game.”
Edwards headed home a corner from Chris Hussey – Albion’s 14th of the game – and the defender revealed that his teammate had been given some stick before he finally delivered when it mattered the most.
“We were caning Hussey to beat the first man,” said Edwards. “I think that was the first time he did it, and I was there to meet the ball.”
Albion’s win on the south coast was their third victory on the trot, and their third consecutive clean sheet after 2-0 shutouts against Chesterfield and Torquay United.
The team seem to have got over their rocky patch when they could not keep 11 men on the pitch, and Edwards believes that defensive solidity – of which he has played a key part – is important.
“If you don’t concede goals, you’re going to win games, and that’s always a good foundation to build from,” said the former Accrington Stanley man.
“We want to get promoted, that’s our aim, but it’s going to be one of the tightest leagues this year.
“It’s just about who has consistency, and hopefully we will be one of those teams.
“We started really well and then hit a sticky patch, but we’ve come through that with three wins on the bounce.
“We want to be around the top, and if we can stay there, that’ll give us confidence.”
Edwards was in the Albion team at the start of the season, before losing his place at right-back to the experienced Rory Delap.
However, he has started the last eight games for the Brewers, and said: “I started the season and thought I did okay after adapting to a new team.
“Then I got left out and I wasn’t happy.
“But you’ve got to take that on the chin, I got my chance and I think I’m getting better with each game I play.”