League 2 timelines, 29 Oct 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.

Individual matches

You can check how the E Ratings model predicted each match would pan out here.


The model did not see this one coming: Accrington have been looking increasingly strong of late while Newport’s struggles have not been a surprise, so I was expecting a comfortable home win. However the hosts’ good early chance was pretty much their only end product for the first 35 minutes or so and, while they probably did enough to draw overall, this was a far less assured performance than anticipated.


Barnet looked completely out of ideas here until just after the hour mark when – assisted by a Hartlepool red card – they mounted an impressive comeback to turn a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 win. The Bees had struggled to impose themselves for the first hour but made ruthless use of their numerical advantage: their visitors have now dropped an eye-watering 20 points from winning positions this season.2016-10-29-cambridge-portsmouth

Portsmouth have been the most dominant side in the division by far this season but have often struggled to make this count, so it was perhaps fitting that their worst performance of the season resulted in a win. In their defence they were reduced to 10 men with half an hour remaining, hence the flat line thereafter, but prior to the dismissal this was an unusually dull encounter and one in which Cambridge will be disappointed not to have taken any points from.

The model had predicted a comfortable Carlisle win here, with Crawley having apparently overachieved so far, but it was the visitors who performed the better on the day. The hosts’ sharp finishing saw them amass an unassailable lead before half time and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that the away side began to threaten with any regularity.

Cheltenham scored with their first shot here following a quiet start and were perhaps fortunate to have been leading at half time here. Blackpool pegged them back shortly afterwards before a relatively dull second half in which neither side was able to carve out a chance likely to re-break the deadlock.2016-10-29-doncaster-wycombe

After an encouraging start, Doncaster have looked far less convincing lately and were heading for a fortunate-looking victory before Wycombe’s late surge. A point looks to have been the least the Chairboys deserved, having kept their hosts quiet for much of the second half before they took control.2016-10-29-leyton-o-crewe

Neither side was able to threaten regularly here, with Crewe’s two goals arriving during their only productive spell late in the first half. Despite starting both halves relatively brightly, Orient were otherwise frustratingly anonymous here and slipped into the bottom two as a result.

Stevenage’s first goal here brought a dull contest to life and their second saw them snatch a fortunate-looking win. Mansfield’s second half performance had made up for their dull first half showing but they were unusually lax at the back here and paid the price for their slow start.2016-10-29-morecambe-exeter

Exeter look to have battened down the hatches after powering into a 3-0 lead, having not taken a single shot after their third goal went in. To their credit, Morecambe didn’t throw in the towel and created plenty of chances as they chased the game. The host could easily have pulled a goal or two back, but the situation was probably unrecoverable.2016-10-29-notts-co-luton

A draw was probably the correct result here but both teams can be justifiably disappointed not to have gotten on the scoresheet. Luton started more brightly but began to fade after the hour mark, with Notts County gradually taking control but unable to profit from their late dominance.2016-10-29-plymouth-colchester

Plymouth snatched a late and apparently fortunate win here. Colchester had matched their high-flying hosts throughout and had created the better chances with an hour gone, but their output flatlined thereafter and they succumbed to their hosts’ belated charge.2016-10-29-yeovil-grimsby

A draw looks to have been a fair result here: both teams did just about enough to get on the scoresheet but neither posed a regular threat. There looks to have been a long dull stretch in the first half, with Grimsby enjoying the better of the second but unable to make a breakthrough.