League 2 timelines, 27 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:


Doncaster’s performance in an entertaining match against fellow promotion challengers Carlisle looks to have set the standard this week, with Plymouth’s showing at Orient aided by their hosts’ two early dismissals. Accrington and Luton look not to have gotten the rewards their performances deserved, while Blackpool finally had some luck in front of goal in their defeat of title favourites Portsmouth.

Individual matches

You can see how the E Ratings predicted each match would unfold here.


Accrington had to come from behind here after a very poor first half performance and could easily have taken all three points after restricting Mansfield to an even more anonymous second. The visiting Stags had the better of things before the interval but only managed one shot after it, so should be the happier with a share of the points.

Goals have been at a premium at both ends for Barnet this season, so a game like this was overdue. The hosts look to have deserved their two goals but Morecambe were perhaps fortunate to have struck twice, having gone missing for the middle part of this match before popping up late on to snatch a point.

Portsmouth succumbed to a rare defeat here, with Blackpool’s finishing looking to have been the difference between the two sides. The hosts went into this game as the only club to have taken more shots than Pompey but had often struggled to convert their chances, so perhaps this was the luck they’d been lacking so far.

Cambridge secured a deserved-looking win here, with Yeovil’s attack reverting to its usual frustrating form after their four-goal haul against Cheltenham. The Glovers rarely threatened here and, while their hosts were hardly relentless, they can have few complaints about the result given the balance of chances overall.

There weren’t a great deal of quality chances in this encounter, although Stevenage’s late surge will surely have subjected Cheltenham’s fans to a nervous final ten minutes. Both clubs would have done well to get on the scoresheet from their attacking output here, with a draw looking like a fair result.

This doesn’t look to have been a classic, but at least there were goals. Crawley struck early but appear to have peaked too early while Colchester got increasingly into the game as it unfolded, grabbing a seemingly deserved equaliser with time running out.

I was looking forward to this game between two improving promotion hopefuls and it looks like there was plenty of entertainment. An action-packed first quarter of an hour saw both teams trade blows (and goals) before giving way to a more attritional contest. Carlisle took a back seat for much of the next hour, allowing Doncaster to dominate, but reasserted themselves late on to recover a fortunate-looking point.

Notts County look to have taken their chances well here, having threatened far less frequently than hosts Exeter but getting the ball into better positions when they did break through. The Grecians look to have done enough to at least draw here, but the clinical finishing they’d displayed at Stevenage wasn’t in evidence here.

Grimsby’s late penalty was enough to settle this game. Newport had run them relatively close beforehand, so it was a surprise to see this match result in Warren Feeney’s dismissal given how close they came to taking a point.

Luton look to have earned a share of the points with a strong finish here. Hartlepool had taken the lead towards the end of a relatively dull first half but had a man sent off 10 minutes into the second, allowing the Hatters to assume control. The visitors’ late equaliser looks to have been the least they deserved.

It’s no surprise to see Orient’s line so flat after they had two players sent off early on. Plymouth had no difficulty in taking advantage of the resulting numerical mismatch, racking up a comfortable victory.

While some unusually sharp finishing is partly responsible for the extreme scoreline, it looks like Wycombe were the better team on the night here. Crewe were anonymous for long spells and their goal came from their only meaningful attack of the second half.