League 2 timelines, 17 Sep 2016: County finally strike first

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:


Starting in the top left, Accrington became the first team to out-create Portsmouth in an EFL match this season, while elsewhere there were strong showings from both Blackpool and Cheltenham (who weren’t rewarded with three points) plus Doncaster and Crewe (who were). Neither Grimsby nor Mansfield created a single chance in the first half of their matches, but the latter still managed to hold out for a point.

Individual matches


Accrington became the first team to out-create Portsmouth this season (although Crewe came close) and were duly rewarded with a narrow win. Their solidity came at the cost of the spectacle, with this not looking like a classic game, and their goal arrived at the beginning of a strong second half spell.2016-09-17-barnet-colchester

Barnet look to have been spurred into life by Colchester’s early goal, attacking regularly thereafter while simultaneously restricting their visitors’ opportunities. The Bees left it late to level the scores but there seems little doubt that they deserved at least a point overall.2016-09-17-blackpool-carlisle

Despite dominating the first half – no mean feat against a usually energetic Carlisle – Blackpool found themselves 2-0 down with a half an hour remaining. However the hosts immediately responded and grabbed an equaliser which, despite having done enough to win the game overall, will surely have come as a relief.2016-09-17-cambridge-morecambe

Cambridge can feel justifiably hard done by here, having contained Morecambe effectively for the first hour of this match and seemingly heading for a first win of the season before their visitors followed up their equalising penalty with a second to claim all three points. Overall a draw looks to have been a fairer outcome, but the hosts have only the positives of a mostly dominant performance to show for their efforts.2016-09-17-cheltenham-notts-co

Notts County had conceded the opening goal in every league match they’ve played this season, so it will have been encouraging to have broken that run here. However they were otherwise fortunate to take three points here, having been out-created once Cheltenham had recovered from a slow start.2016-09-17-crawley-luton

Luton look to have been sucker punched by a goal at the end of each half here, with each coming after a long spell of inactivity from Crawley. The home side were out-created overall, although had matched the Hatters’ performance until the final half an hour. 2016-09-17-doncaster-newport

Another dominant performance from Doncaster saw them record a comfortable home win over Newport. The game tailed off towards the end, which saw the visitors briefly threaten to get back into the game, but by then the damage was done.2016-09-17-exeter-plymouth

An unsurprisingly tense-looking derby game was settled by two goals in an otherwise relatively quiet first half. Both teams were unable to get shots away for long spells, with both halves seeing Exeter finish more strongly than they started but unable to break Plymouth down.2016-09-17-grimsby-crewe

An unusually meek Grimsby performance saw them fail to register a single effort in the first half (although there was at least one offside call that erased an effort from the record). Crewe were quiet for long spells themselves but created by far the better chances and missed a first half penalty.

Hartlepool were overdue a goalless draw, with both teams having scored in every one of their previous league games this season. However it came in a match where they will have been disappointed not to have gotten on the scoresheet, having created sufficient chances to do so. Like the Mariners above, visitors Mansfield didn’t even register an effort at goal in the first half, so can consider themselves lucky to have left with a point.

Orient were another unlucky-looking home side this weekend, having lost despite creating chances of more than double the quality of Yeovil’s. The Glovers didn’t take a shot for the first 20 minutes of the first half and waited almost as long for their opening effort of the second, striking at the end of a similarly barren spell for their hosts.2016-09-17-wycombe-stevenage

Wycombe struck at the end of a dull first half, rattling in a series of chances to take a lead into the interval. The Chairboys proceeded to dominate the second half exchanges, albeit with relatively low-probability efforts, and kept Stevenage largely at bay to secure a deserved-looking win.