League 2 timelines, 19 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.


This looks to have been a match that Accrington should have won. They dominated the first half and Stevenage barely threatened before netting the game’s only goal with 20 minutes to go. Despite the hosts rattling in a few good chances late on, they were unable to find a way through, but if they keep playing like this then I expect the results to follow eventually.2016-11-19-barnet-crewe

A 0-0 draw looked like a reasonable outcome with 15 minutes left on the clock, as neither side had created much of note. Barnet’s late surge, which saw them create several promising opportunities, could well have seen them snatch all three points and they will surely be the more disappointed with the draw.2016-11-19-cambridge-wycombe

An early Wycombe penalty was one of few notable chances in a relatively flat first half, although Cambridge recovered admirably after half time to dominate proceedings and eventually claim a deserved-looking late equaliser. The visitors’ even later winner will have been hard to take after such an impressive recovery and a draw certainly looks like a fairer outcome here.2016-11-19-carlisle-exeter

This game was likely to have goals in it given that both teams have attacked more convincingly than they’ve defended this season, although good chances look to have been relatively few and far between. Defeat appears to have been tough on Exeter, who led on both actual and expected goals for most of the match only to see all three points ripped from their grasp with two late goals.2016-11-19-cheltenham-portsmouth

Once again Portsmouth out-created an opponent but were denied all three points – a depressingly oft-recurring theme this season. Cheltenham were the quieter side until they burst into life just before the hour mark and took the lead after a dominant spell, but their visitors struck back to earn the point which looks to have been the least they deserved.2016-11-19-doncaster-hartlepool

Hartlepool’s penalty aside, this was a reassuring performance from Doncaster that keeps their promotion challenge on track. The visitors have been struggling this season and were kept pretty quiet here, carving out little of note besides their spot kick, but the home side’s late winner – arriving after the game had looked to be fizzling out quietly – will still have stung.

Other than towards the end of each half, Orient were mostly flat here: offering little while their visitors threatened far more regularly. The scoreline looks to have reflected the balance of chances created pretty accurately, with the hosts having created enough to justify a place on the scoresheet but far too little for defeat to be considered an unfair outcome.

Crawley’s ratings have been deteriorating all season so unfortunately it’s no surprise to see them dropping down the table. Their third successive 3-1 league defeat looks to have been pretty comprehensive, with Mansfield dominating throughout and their consolation goal being netted by a home defender. The Stags’ performances were far from poor under Adam Murray so it remains to be seen whether the change of manager will have any lasting benefit.2016-11-19-morecambe-luton

This game certainly took a while to get going, with no shots by either side for the first 25 minutes. Luton then netted from their first attempt but it was only after half time when they really put their foot down, bagging another as they dominated the remainder of the game to register a deserved away win. Morecambe started and ended the game in disappointing anonymity, particularly given that they were the home side, and increasingly look to be in relegation danger.2016-11-19-notts-co-newport

A Newport penalty – scored on the rebound – brought a sluggish game to life after half an hour, with a second added before Notts County could muster a response. This was a relatively even game apart from the circumstances leading up to the first goal, with neither side offering much else in the first half and both creating a similar amount in the second, although the visitors were the busier overall and looked more deserving of victory. The Magpies are another side that the E Ratings suggested would start to sink down the table before too long, and on this evidence they could well slip further.2016-11-19-plymouth-grimsby

Grimsby’s finishing looks to have been the difference between these two sides here, with Plymouth creating chances of similar aggregate quality. However it also looks to have been a case of quality over quantity, with the Mariners’ line consisting of fewer, larger jumps – suggesting that their efforts were converted from better positions while their hosts were reduced to mostly speculative efforts. Going into this game the visitors had created the third most chances in the division but had been the second most wasteful at converting them, while the Pilgrims had the most resilient defence and one of the most clinical attacks, so perhaps there was an element of luck evening itself out here.

Yeovil were perhaps unlucky to fall behind shortly after half time, having dominated the first half without being able to find a breakthrough, although their visitors netted from the game’s most promising opportunity. Colchester’s goal looks to have stunned the Grecians, who didn’t muster a single second half effort until just after the 70th minute, although the visitors then faded themselves; finishing the game as anonymously as they started it and succumbing to two late strikes.