League 2 timelines, 6 Aug 2016: Carlisle snatch a point
A quick explanation
You can skip this if you’ve seen these before.
Returning from last season, here are match timelines for each of the weekend’s matches. There’s a full explanation of these here, but in a nutshell they track how each club’s expected goals tally (the number of goals that the average team would have scored from the chances that they created) increased over the course of the match.
This allows us to get a better sense of how each game played out than from just watching a highlights package. Every jump in a line is a shot, with bigger jumps corresponding to more promising chances (at least as far as we can tell from the limited data available at this level). There are two numbers next to each club’s name: the first is how many goals they scored and the second (in brackets) is how many goals the average club would have scored from their shots. The latter number is what the lines track, with dots on the lines showing goals scored.
You can browse previous timelines by selecting “VISUALISATIONS > TIMELINES” from the menu.
First of all, here are all of the match timelines side-by-side and using the same vertical scale, which makes it easier to pick out which games saw the most (and least) goalmouth action. I always sort matches by date and then alphabetically by the home team’s name in these posts to make it easier to find a specific one:
Both Accrington and Carlisle look to have had lucky escapes on the opening weekend, with both of their opponents unable to convert their impressive performances into three points.
As mentioned above, Accrington look to have been fortunate here: Doncaster created the far better chances overall yet succumbed to a late home winner. The home side did enough to get on the scoresheet but three goals appears to have flattered them, while their visitors could easily have netted a third themselves.
There wasn’t much between these two sides here, although Blackpool created the marginally better chances overall. After an even first half both teams started the second period sluggishly, with an Exeter own goal doubling their hosts’ advantage. On another day the away team could have found the net and perhaps left with a point.
A draw looks to have been a fair result here, with both teams registering relatively flat performances apart from the attacks which led to their respective second half goals. Neither Cambridge nor Barnet produced much of menace otherwise, with the home side looking largely anonymous after taking the lead on the hour mark.
Cheltenham began life back in the Football League rather sluggishly, barely threatening before the late showing which earned them a deserved point. Leyton Orient’s early lead looked to have taken the wind out of their hosts’ sails, but the visitors were unable to press their advantage and can ultimately feel happy to have left with a point.
Wycombe could have had a point here from a game that was even throughout. The Chairboys started more brightly and created their most promising opportunity early on, with Crawley taking longer to grow into the game but ultimately matching their hosts for attacking production.
Newly-promoted Grimsby were the worthier winners here but the overall performances were closer than the final scoreline suggested. The Mariners got off to a strong start in both halves and made the perfect start with an early goal and, while Morecambe rallied towards the end of the first half, the second period saw virtually one-way traffic as the hosts pressed for – and ultimately netted – the second goal that killed this game off.
Colchester also got off to a perfect start after scoring with their first shot early on, but otherwise created little before half time and were pegged back by a Hartlepool penalty. The second half saw plenty of chances but few of them were struck from promising positions and the match fizzled out as a draw that the visitors will be marginally the happier with.
This game yielded five goals from only two goals’ worth of chances, suggesting a combination of sharp finishing and lacklustre defending. Newport’s second equaliser – a tap-in from close range – appears to have been the game’s only gilt-edged chance, with the hosts failing to trouble the Mansfield defence for long periods for much of the preceding hour of football.
Neither of these sides were able to muster a shot at goal in the first half an hour of their respective campaigns, with Luton’s initial effort the only chance of note before half time. However the Hatters made amends after the interval with a more fluent display than visitors Plymouth, although the three-goal margin of their victory looks to have flattered them somewhat.
“Smash and grab” is an appropriate cliche to summarise Carlisle’s afternoon: the Cumbrians opened the scoring with the first of only two efforts at goal and then clung on in the face of a second half Portsmouth barrage. The home team’s attacking display looks the sort that would usually yield at least two goals – if not three – so they are entitled to view this draw as two points dropped.
Stevenage were another team to begin their campaign underwhelmingly, with only a couple of speculative efforts to show for their first half performance. Crewe didn’t fare much better themselves before the interval but made a far more positive contribution after the hour mark, netting twice to preserve three points despite their hosts’ late consolation strike.
Yeovil put in the division’s worst attacking performance last season but were dominant for first half an hour here and made it count, with Notts County unable to muster even as much as a shot in reply as the Glovers racked up a two goal lead. Despite hitting the wall after scoring their second goal midway through the first half – and allowing the Magpies to assert themselves as the second half wore on – they held on for an ultimately convincing victory.