League 2 timelines, 27 Aug 2016: Carlisle keep Barnet at bay
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.
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:
Doncaster (middle) look to have put in the most convincing attacking display this weekend, although Grimsby (bottom left) weren’t far behind them. Both Portsmouth and Mansfield left it late to seal deserved-looking wins of their own, while Carlisle’s containment of a previously-impressive Barnet attack during a long away trip warrants an honourable mention.
While Morecambe’s comeback was made easier by Accrington going down to 10 men shortly after doubling their lead, putting three past their hosts in quick succession was still an impressive feat. The hosts were unable to work the ball into dangerous positions with their numerical disadvantage, with the visitors’ defence standing firm to keep them at the top of the table.
Barnet were one of the EFL’s most impressive attacking sides in the first four games of the season – only Portsmouth and Scunthorpe created more expected goals per game – but Carlisle kept them under wraps here. The Cumbrians didn’t let their hosts get a shot away until more than half an hour had passed and only had to withstand a belated barrage in the final 25 minutes to secure their win.
Blackpool can legitimately feel hard done by here, having more than matched Plymouth’s output and finishing the game strongly despite having a man sent off with 20 minutes to go. The visitors barely got a look in before half time and scored with one of only three second half shots, so can consider themselves fortunate that their hosts’ forwards were having an off day.
Cambridge also look to have gotten less than they might have deserved this weekend, having bossed the first half before being stunned twice in quick succession by Luton with half an hour to go. While the visitors finished the game strongly they had created little in the first hour, although they did restrict their hosts to relatively poor chances after going ahead.
Given that these two clubs entered League 2 from different directions over the summer, this was a disappointing showing from Crewe. The away side needed over 50 minutes to record their first shot and only managed three in total – none of them on target. The scoreline may have slightly flattered Cheltenham but there’s no doubt that they out-performed their visitors.
Until County’s late penalty killed the game off, this was a relatively even affair, although they had shot more frequently than their hosts overall. Three goals at the start of the second half – spaced equally in seven-minute intervals – gave the away side an edge that Crawley were unable to recover from.
Doncaster started well here and posed the greater threat throughout, netting early and keeping Yeovil away from their goal for almost the entire first half an hour. The away side were reduced to 10 men with quarter of an hour remaining and the game still looking salvageable at 2-1, although they had only managed one second half shot at that point.
This was another dominant performance from Portsmouth, who restricted Exeter to a handful of attempts, although their disappointing finishing almost forced them to settle for a share of the points. Only two of their 18 efforts were on target, including their late match-winning penalty, which will surely be a concern.
While their tally of five goals may have flattered Grimsby somewhat, they look to have been deserving winners here. After a scrappy but relatively even first half, they fared much better than Stevenage in the second – particularly in the final quarter of an hour. The visitors’ efforts at goal were few and far between by comparison, especially after half time.
Despite a very early red card, Hartlepool still managed to dominate this match and could easily have won it. Newport created far less overall and it looks like they scored with their first two – seemingly unremarkable – shots, although they contained their hosts for the final half an hour.
Orient never really got going here and look fortunate to have pegged Mansfield back almost immediately after the visitors took the lead. While the Stags had fewer shots overall they were of higher quality – their hosts scored with their only attempt on target – and they were the worthier winners.
Colchester’s finishing looks to have made the difference here, with both clubs’ lines rising almost in unison throughout the game. The away side opened the scoring just after the hour mark with what looks to have been the best chance of the match, sparking the contest back into life after a dull period either side of half time.