League 2 timelines, 16 Aug 2016: relief mixed with disappointment for Barnet and Carlisle

A quick explanation

You can skip this if you’ve seen these before.

As usual, here are timeline graphics for the latest round of 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 the highlights. Every jump in a line is a shot, with bigger jumps corresponding to more promising chances (at least as far as I 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 denoting the goals they actually scored.

You can browse previous timelines by selecting “VISUALISATIONS > TIMELINES” from the menu.

Side-by-side comparison

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:

L2 2016-08-16

The first two matches in this graphic both feature home clubs – Barnet and Carlisle – who look to have deserved more points than they ultimately took, and the same can also be said for Portsmouth and Notts County in the bottom row. There were plenty of performances which were rewarded however, with Doncaster’s comfortable win over Cambridge perhaps warranting a higher margin.

Individual matches

2016-08-16 Barnet Blackpool

Barnet’s equaliser at the death looks to have been the least they deserved from a match in which they created by far the better chances: almost three goals’ worth in fact. Even at home this was impressive against a recently-relegated opponent who gave a decent account of themselves and ultimately earned their place on the scoresheet, even if they can consider themselves fortunate to have taken a point home with them.
2016-08-16 Carlisle Cheltenham

Like Barnet, Carlisle’s performance appears to have been worthy of all three points rather than the one they rescued via a late equaliser. Visitors Cheltenham had offered little prior to their opener early in the second half, and this one would have gone down as a “smash and grab” away win had they not finally bowed to their hosts’ pressure.
2016-08-16 Colchester Grimsby

While Colchester look to have been fortunate in amassing such a large first half lead, they at least seem to have been the worthier winners overall. Grimsby deserve credit for their attempted fightback, even if they also might have netted fewer times from the chances they created on another day.2016-08-16 Crewe Hartlepool

Crewe looked to be cruising to a comfortable home win after 70 minutes: two goals up and without Hartlepool having really tested their defence. However a late, quickfire brace drew the visitors level and almost equalled out the two teams’ expected goals tallies, although a spirited (albeit fruitless) response from the home side left them the more disappointed with a share of the points. That’s the second time in the space of four days that Hartlepool have netted two late away goals – they snatched all three points at Exeter in similar fashion on Saturday.

2016-08-16 Doncaster Cambridge

Doncaster will undoubtedly have been relieved when they finally broke the deadlock with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. While this was hardly a classic encounter – there was only one shot in the 50 minutes of football preceding their goal – the home side created by far the better chances. Cambridge carved out worryingly little here, although against a recently-relegated side this is hardly an immediate cause for panic.

2016-08-16 Exeter Crawley

A tedious-looking encounter ended harshly for Exeter, with Crawley failing to test their defence until late in either half and snatching a late winner with what was their first shot in over half an hour. Neither side’s opportunities would normally have been sufficient to find the net, and with both creating chances of similar quality a 0-0 draw would probably have been a fairer outcome.

2016-08-16 Leyton O Stevenage

The huge early spike in Orient’s line is three close range shots in quick succession, with the third finally beating the Stevenage defence. Without that glut of chances this would have looked a more even game on paper, with neither side working the ball into similarly dangerous positions for the remainder of the game. Still, the home team tested their opponents more regularly and will surely see this as three points earned.2016-08-16 Luton Newport

Luton won this with a late penalty despite having been reduced to ten men in the closing stages. Neither they nor Newport created much of note before the hour mark, when first they and then their visitors scored from their most notable attacks of the match. Even without the impact of their spot kick, the hosts did enough to register a win here, although both clubs look to have run out of steam during the last 20 minutes.
2016-08-16 Mansfield Yeovil

Despite finding themselves a man down with fewer than 10 minutes on the clock, Mansfield contained Yeovil pretty effectively here. Even without their second half penalty they created chances of twice the quality of their visitors’, who won’t want to relapse into the shot-shy ways of last season.2016-08-16 Morecambe Portsmouth

Portsmouth will want to forget the first 25 minutes of this match as soon as possible: a stodgy opening in which they barely threatened and somehow ended up two goals behind. For the remainder of the game they relentlessly probed the Morecambe defence – creating enough chances to level the scores – but were unable to drag themselves back into the game. You could argue that a similarly slow start cost them two points on the opening day, so this could well be something to work on if they’re to go one better this season and secure a return to the third tier.2016-08-16 Notts Co Plymouth

Speaking as someone with Latvian in-laws, it’s always nice to see a Latvian player score a goal, but Nauris Bulvitis’ winner papered over some serious cracks in Plymouth’s start to the season. They’ve taken the fewest shots and generated the fewest expected goals of any side in the division, and look to have been second best to Notts County here. After a relatively even first half the hosts dominated the second but were unable to break their visitors down, despite creating twice as much overall. It’s still early days but the much-altered Pilgrims currently look a shadow of the side that surged to the top of League 2 last season.
2016-08-16 Wycombe Accrington

Wycombe took an early lead here but, apart from a close-range effort after half an hour, offered little else and can have few complaints about a far busier Accrington pegging them back. The visitors’ goal shortly after half time seems to have spurred them on but they were unable to create much else of genuine menace, although they look to have earned their point.