THE start of this season was the beginning of a new ear for Accrington Stanley as a new pitch was installed at the Wham Stadium during the summer.

Stanley's pitch last campaign came in for much criticism as games where being called off due to it being waterlogged and the Reds' home form took a hit itself.

This season has not only seen an increase in Stanley's home form, but the Reds have been able to play the way manager John Coleman prefers - getting the ball down on the surface and passing.

Coleman likes his team to be easy on the eye when they are in possession, but the old pitch at the Wham Stadium stopped them from doing this effectively and their home form last season backed this us.

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton had plenty to say about the state of the pitch last season: "We spoke about it in the week about the state of the pitch. It is a shambles isn't it. I know there are no excuses for that, but we want to play football.

"The surface has to be prepared for a team to play football on. I know they got a little bit of their knickers in a twist when I mentioned it but also they have had players sold for transfer fees.

"Andy Holt was very vocal on Twitter this week about our club's budget. I'd suggest to him that he invests in his playing surface because it is costing his team.

"The pitch is awful. There is no two ways about it. We want to play football and it hurts Accrington as much as it hurts the opposition because they have some fantastic footballers.

"I have a lot of respect for John and Jimmy and they want to get the ball down and play.

"I spoke to the groundsman and he said 'thanks for your comments this week, hopefully we will get a few quid to invest in our pitch'."

Owner Andy Holt did just that and he spent £300,000 on the new surface, that has made results take a turn for the better.

Stanley have played 14 times at home so far this season and have come away with six wins, two draws and six defeats, with three of them wins coming against Ipswich Town, Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth.

The Reds played 23 matches at home during their first campaign in League One, losing 10 of them, drawing six and winning seven - only giving them a 2% advantage when playing at home.

That may not seem like an awful record on paper, but Stanley have been strong on their own turf in recent seasons so this was not to their usual standards.

In Stanley's historic League Two winning campaign, Coleman's side won 17 of their 23 home games, drawing three and losing just three and the season before that was met with 10 wins out of the 23 matches.

When watching the Reds this season in comparison to last, it is clear to see that the players enjoy playing on this surface much more and are able to play football in the way they are coached to do.

On the other hand, the opposition will have dreaded playing on the pitch last season, but will enjoy being able to knock the ball around on the new surface so you could argue that it will enhance their performance when coming to Accrington.