League 2 timelines, 12 Nov 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 E Ratings model has been flagging up Blackpool’s quality and the worrying lack of it at Notts County for some time, so on some level it’s nice to see some vindication for the data. The hosts started relatively slowly but ended up demolishing their visitors, who barely even got going here.2016-11-12-colchester-leyton-o

A strange first half saw surprisingly little action until late on, apart from Orient’s opening goal. The final scoreline seems to owe more to a bad day at the office for Colchester, who conceded twice from relatively unpromising shots in the second half, rather than a dominant display from the visitors. The hosts ended up creating chances of similar quality overall, despite their poor start, so perhaps this should go down as a freak result?2016-11-12-crawley-cambridge

The model had Cambridge as narrow favourites here, viewing their poor start to the season as at least partially luck-driven while Crawley look to have been overachieving. The visitors certainly had the better of this one and look to have been worthy winners, even if the scoreline flattered them slightly.2016-11-12-crewe-plymouth

This match might have turned out differently if Crewe had converted their first half penalty (the big jump in their line), but in truth they created little else of note here. While Plymouth started even more slowly than their hosts here, they carved out the better chances overall and kept the home side quiet for long spells.2016-11-12-exeter-doncaster

Exeter’s penalty early in the second half was their first shot on goal for almost 45 minutes, although they had at least restricted Doncaster’s opportunities for most of that time (apart from a late first half scare). The visitors’ three-goal comeback appears to owe some of its magnitude to luck but they created the better chances overall so seemed to deserve at least something from this game.2016-11-12-grimsby-barnet

Two Barnet penalties in the space of five minutes turned this game on its head. The visitors had created relatively little in the first half but were able to wipe out Grimsby’s two-goal lead and then survive a late surge from the hosts to leave with a point. 2016-11-12-hartlepool-cheltenham

This looks to have been an even contest throughout, with the two lines tracking each other closely. Hartlepool have been one of the division’s sharpest finishers and that looks to have made the difference here, with Cheltenham creating slightly better chances overall but leaving empty-handed.

This was an unexpectedly poor performance from Accrington, who have continued to impress this season but were comfortably second best here. Both clubs started slowly but Luton alone were able to create some decent chances and were rewarded late on. The Hatters look to have a genuine shot at promotion this year while Accrington will do well to remain in the play-off picture at this rate.2016-11-12-newport-carlisle

Carlisle’s unbeaten start was finally ended here in slightly unfortunate circumstances, having created almost as much as their hosts. This was a massive win for Newport and a creditable performance given the standard of opposition, although it’s difficult to quantify the psychological effect of their early goal. However with three of their next five matches coming against the lowest-rated sides in the division, it’s far from impossible that the Exiles could be out of the drop zone altogether by Christmas.

The model predicted a comfortable home win for Portsmouth here but they look to have been given a fair amount of help in racking up such a big scoreline. Their first goal came from the penalty spot during an opening period in which they created little else of note. Mansfield’s two sendings-off during the second half put paid to any hopes of a fightback and culminated in a late collapse that one of the division’s tighter defences would surely not have permitted otherwise, so while Pompey may well have won in any case, the margin almost certainly owes something to good fortune.2016-11-12-stevenage-yeovil

Stevenage started this game far more purposefully, with Yeovil rarely threatening before half time, but the tables were turned in the second half. It was the Glovers who went ahead after the interval before being pegged back, perhaps deservedly given their hosts’ first half output, with both clubs adding another goal late on in an entertaining finish. A draw looks to have been a fair result overall, however.2016-11-12-wycombe-morecambe

The E Ratings model wasn’t fooled by Morecambe’s four wins from five at the start of the season and the cushion afforded by those results has since been all but eroded away. They barely got going here, with Wycombe’s usually quiet attack laying siege to their goal in the first half but not being rewarded until after the interval, when they appeared to be running out of steam.