League 1 timelines, 27-28 Sep 2016

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:


It looks like Scunthorpe’s win over Walsall was the most convincing – particularly given that they were the away side. Otherwise there were plenty of disappointments, with Coventry, Millwall, MK Dons, Swindon and Peterborough all looking as though they might have secured better results with their performances on another day.

Individual matches

You can also see how the E Ratings predicted each of these games would turn out here.


This looks to have been the right result – and scoreline – overall. Neither side looked that fluent in attack with both enduring long shotless spells, particularly at the start of the second half when fans had to wait almost 15 minutes for the first effort. Bradford’s match-winning penalty accounted for much of the margin of their output, suggesting that their attack may still need some tweaks to sustain an automatic promotion push.


A close end-to-end game looks to have ended with the right outcome. Both teams did enough to get on the scoresheet and matched each other’s output closely, which will be of greater encouragement to Oldham given their poor start and the fact that they were the away side. The Latics left it late to grab a point, but appear to have earned it.


Three second half penalties turned this into a far greater goal-fest than a dull first half had promised. Gillingham look to have earned the point that their late two-goal fightback yielded, having rattled in chances of greater quality overall, although neither side created the volume of chances you’d normally associated with this sort of scoreline.


MK Dons look to have been hard done by here, with Bury netting twice from three shots in just over an hour of football. Ironically the best-looking of the three was kept out, although the visitors nabbed a third from close range late on. Their hosts had significantly out-created them at the point they finally equalised, but appear to have run out of steam thereafter – perhaps after having been pegged back almost immediately.


Millwall’s disappointing start to the season continued here – they offered little until the final quarter of an hour and were undone by some clinical Port Vale finishing. The hosts’ opening goal was one of the few highlights of a stodgy first half and they were able to net twice from their first three attempts of a second period that was similarly quiet prior to Millwall’s late surge. The Lions missed three good chances before converting a penalty, but will need to start games better if they are to catch up with the promotion challengers.


Rochdale recovered from a poor first half to secure a crucial victory here. Bolton had offered relatively little themselves before the interval and their failure to register a second half shot until after the 70th minute ultimately counted against them. Either of the two good chances they carved out late on could have led to an equaliser they may well have deserved, but the home defence held firm.


Bristol Rovers’ red card shortly after they had fallen behind surely dented their chances of recovering here, although they still managed to marginally out-create their hosts thanks to a close-range chance in the last 10 minutes. A draw may well have been fairer on the visitors, who posed regular questions of an in-form Sheffield United.


Peterborough look unfortunate to have left Shrewsbury with just a point but could have handed their hosts all three after having a man sent off and conceding a penalty on the hour mark. The spot kick accounted for almost half of the home side’s attacking output and followed two close range efforts at the other end which could have restored their visitors’ lead, so events wouldn’t have had to unfold that differently for an away win to have resulted here.


Southend’s match-winning penalty with a quarter of an hour remaining looks to have settled an otherwise close game here. The hosts had previously struggled to gain a foothold in the second half but had restricted Oxford mainly to speculative efforts throughout, with a stalemate likely to have resulted had the visitors not conceded that spot kick.


Swindon responded admirably to conceding an early goal here, rattling in a succession of chances while Northampton were kept almost completely quiet for over an hour of football. However the hosts’ eventual – and seemingly deserved – equaliser sparked the Cobblers back into life with an impressive (and unlikely) return of two goals from just three shots echoing the ruthlessness that saw them promoted last season.


An early penalty set Scunthorpe on the way to another big scoreline and a further deepening of Walsall’s misery this season. While the eventual margin flattered the visitors slightly – the result of some more clinical finishing – they heavily out-created the Saddlers overall and kept up the pressure throughout.


Coventry took the lead early here and look to have been the better side, but almost finished empty handed after Wimbledon turned the game on its head late on. The visitors started both halves pretty anonymously but scored late in each, almost snatching what would have been a fortunate victory.