League 2 timelines, 20 Aug 2016: frustration for Accrington and Luton

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 2016-08-20

The closest we came to a convincing win this weekend was Portsmouth’s over Colchester, but it doesn’t look as though it was that fun to watch. Instead there were a fair few surprises, with Accrington and Luton both suffering harsh-looking defeats, while Barnet and Carlisle at least took a point away from their own apparently unlucky afternoons.

Individual matches

2016-08-20 Accrington Exeter

Exeter look to have been fortunate here: before their opening goal Accrington had comfortably out-created them without finding the net. The Grecians were also able to quickly cancel out their hosts’ equaliser, albeit from what looks to have been the game’s best chance, and then grind out the win. With the home side having created the better chances overall, it looks like they were unlucky not to have taken at least a point.

2016-08-20 Blackpool Wycombe

A draw looks to have been a fair result here, with each side having the better of one half. Blackpool barely troubled their visitors’ defence for the first 35 minutes here and didn’t really string a series of shots together until relatively late in the game. Wycombe meanwhile had their best spell in the middle of the first half and didn’t create much in the second. Both did enough to score overall, but not enough to justify all three points.2016-08-20 Cambridge Carlisle

After a slow start, Carlisle attacked far more regularly and effectively here. Cambridge took an early lead but their penalty late in the first half was their only shot in over an hour of football, so it’s just as well that they scored it or they’d have surely lost this match. The visitors’ own pace slowed somewhat after they secured their second equaliser, with a point being the least they deserved overall.2016-08-20 Cheltenham Doncaster

This doesn’t look as though it was a classic, with neither side shooting particularly often. Cheltenham endured frustratingly long spells without an effort at goal in both halves, while Doncaster look to have shut up shop after netting the game’s only goal early in the second half. A draw would probably have been fairer overall given the very similar levels of output from the two teams here.
2016-08-20 Crawley Barnet

Crawley looked to be heading for a home defeat at half time: they were a goal down and had been heavily out-created by Barnet. However after a dull 20 minutes following half time, they sprang into life and levelled the match on both actual and expected goals after netting the second of two close-range efforts. Despite their visitors responding well and dominating the remainder of the match, the hosts clung on for a slightly fortunate-looking point.2016-08-20 Grimsby Leyton O

Grimsby had the better of the first half here, with Orient’s opening goal shortly before the hour mark coming from only their third shot of the match. From that point on the visitors had the better of the game and had closed the “expected goals” gap before their hosts’ added a late consolation goal. The Mariners could understandably see this as at least a point dropped.
2016-08-20 Hartlepool Notts Co

Hartlepool look to have edged the first half here, although neither side threatened regularly until about halfway through it, but Notts County created more overall and were deserving of at least one of their two second half goals. The visitors were the better side for the final hour of this encounter, and racked up chances of slightly better quality in total.2016-08-20 Newport Crewe

It looks as though Newport snatched a point from a relatively dull encounter here, having created less than their visitors overall and having offered little for the first hour of the match. Crewe themselves didn’t carve out much of note for a long spell after taking an early lead, but were the busier attackers overall – particularly either side of half time – and can be justifiably disappointed to have conceded, although they didn’t produce enough to put the game beyond their hosts’ reach.
2016-08-20 Plymouth Mansfield

This is another match that doesn’t look to have been a classic, particularly the flat second half. Plymouth had done enough to earn their half time lead – if not the margin of it – having scored their second goal from the game’s standout chance, with Mansfield having only managed a single speculative effort up to that point. As the first half drew to a close the visitors asserted themselves more, but weren’t able to carve out anything of obvious menace.2016-08-20 Portsmouth Colchester

This looks to have been a dire match up until the closing stages, apart from two close-range Portsmouth chances in quick succession at the 40-minute mark. The hosts were certainly the worthier winners, so will have been relieved by their late double – the first of which came from the spot – while Colchester can have few complaints about the result.2016-08-20 Stevenage Luton

As a Stevenage resident I’m glad I was out of town when this one ended, as there will have been some angry Luton fans spilling out of Broadhall Way. While the visitors’ first half lead looks to have been fortunately-acquired, they created the better chances overall, including a close-range effort with the scores tied and 10 minutes remaining. While Stevenage did enough to get on the scoresheet, their late winner gave them a fortunate-looking derby win.2016-08-20 Yeovil Morecambe

Morecambe edged a game with surprisingly few goals here, with Yeovil looking the slightly better side on the day but unable to secure a share of the points. The visitors started both halves better than the finished them but managed to keep the Glovers – whose best chances look to have fallen early on – at bay.