comment_181013

So, 12 games in – reasonably past that ‘give them 10 games to bed in phase’ – and and how do we stand? Okay, only 20th in the table with 11 points. But how does that compare to what we expected, given past results, and how does it appear compared to last season’s torture?

The first thing I have to say about this season is that at times, from a personal viewpoint, we’ve been an absolute joy to watch. Okay, the missing of open goals; the poor conversion rate of chances to goals; and the bad luck of deflections, refereeing decisions and mental aberrations at times have been frustrating. But I now go only to KM fearing we might not win.

However, this is a results business and if you don’t produce them then you can be out. And after another surrender to a team below us – one with allegedly a number of first teamers out and no wins at home this season – there is a certain déjà vu feeling again this season.

So, updating our chart where should we have been in terms of points gained, and where are we actually. What went to plan and what did not? Here goes …

Before the start of the season, we were expected to have accumulated (surprisingly) only nine points, and so far we have got 11, so we’re ahead of the game. Of course, the actual games and league position are a reflection of the teams around us now, so although it feels like a ‘win’ there in terms of extra points already gained, in truth, given the sides around us and the performances, it seems more like a loss; bit like you felt after the Oxford win, not feeling the three points.

Looking at the results as they occurred this season it has very much felt like one foot forward, maybe two steps back. The win at Fleetwood was not expected but the draw at home to Coventry was. But then we conspired to lose at home to Walsall instead of drawing, which balanced out in part the Fleetwood win and that was then compounded by the Sunderland loss (how we did I am still trying to work out). I am very circumspect with these games against teams we have not played before; but I have not better proxy than assuming a 1-0 win at home and the same for them away.

The Burton loss was expected, but not by so many goals, whereas the Gillingham win was also one we expected to see. Scunthorpe at home should have been a draw and in many respects is symptomatic of our play and results so far this season: close but no cigar. The win against Oxford is still not one we can guarantee on past performance as our record against them over time has been so bad; but it has been better more recently so perhaps the win was more expected (if performance was not). Games where results differed from projections are highlighted yellow.

Tying things up with Bradford and Plymouth these were both games were we really expected to get something from each: Bradford should have been a win and Plymouth a draw.

So the two-point difference probably exists because of that scraped win against Oxford, but in all was that enough? A number of people required, if not expected, seven points from Oxford, Bradford and Plymouth: are we perhaps in a slow decline? We will see.

So last year we also had (albeit against different teams) nine points from our first 12 games and sat 21st in the table. Today, we are on 11 points and lie 20th, on poorer goal difference (-9 compared to -7).

Anyway, to the future and the fear already rising: Portsmouth (h), Blackpool (a), Bristol Rovers (a), Luton (h), and Shrewsbury (h). Some are seeing no points from them and when you look at them all you can see why: Portsmouth top of table and smarting from home defeat by Gillingham; Blackpool unbeaten in nine; never got anything from Rovers; and Luton and Shrewsbury seem to be random games that go either way in different seasons. But what do the stats say?

Well, specifically, Portsmouth should be a win, and Blackpool a loss like Rovers will also be. Luton gets us back on a winning track, which we complete with another win against Shrewsbury, so I make that nine points out of 15? I think we would all settle for that and I guess we really do not care how or where those points actually come from in the end, just as long as we get them. If not? Yikes!

We’ll see how it all panned out in the next update around the end of the calendar year.

// Jim Potter – @JamPot44

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In 1957, Delmer Daves directed a film called 3:10 to Yuma. It was, for all intents and purposes, a fantastic film with grit, thrilling sequences and it helped push the boundaries of what cinema goers could expect in a western film.

In 2007 the film was remade by James Mangold and, taking cinema goers expectations to one side, it was a perfectly exciting remake. It contained a bit more gore, thrills and spills, and fluidity.

You see, the development of cinematic skills: digital editing, special effects and direction of camerawork made it easily possible to polish the already excellent screenplay into something slightly more. A more enjoyable production of a previous incarnation. As a fan of 3:10 to Yuma I now hope that they don’t create another film that will go backwards. And the same can be said about Wimbledon on Saturday.

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comment_180731

After a well-earned rest from the stresses of last season, we are now just a few short days away from our first fixture of 2018/19, away at Fleetwood. So, I’ve crunched the numbers, and this is how history suggests we will fare against our 23 League One rivals this year.

The first thing of note is that we are playing 23 clubs this season – not 22 and an abbreviation.

Moving on from that, we can see from this table that, theoretically, we should have a pretty decent season. We are expected to achieve 45 points at home and 21 away, giving us an overall total of 66 points that would have put us, comfortably, in eighth place last year.

Last season, on the basis of the teams we were to play, we were scheduled to accumulate 64 points, but we only achieved 53 – 83 per cent of our projected total.

So why should we have confidence in these stats that this season might be better? Well, it’s the averaging process. Simply put, one bad season should be offset by a good one. Overall, we are pretty average since we got into the league: in fact, over the longest term, our average does come out at around 15 wins, 16 draws, and 15 defeats – a season total of 61 points. So you can see we are owed a bit in terms of getting the average back on track! Of course, that promotion season helped …

In terms of individual games, not a lot has changed for those teams we play this year compared to last. Even good results, like the 4-0 at Bradford, do not counter what has gone before too much; history still says we should lose that one but by a smaller amount!

The uplift in fortunes this season compared to last lies in the teams promoted and relegated. Will we face two teams this year that we have not played before in the league as AFC Wimbledon: Barnsley, and Sunderland. As it happens, we play them both in the first month!

As usual with these ‘new’ opponents, I have assumed a 1-0 win at home and a 1-0 defeat away. In some respects, these might be the most interesting games of the season, stat-wise.

So we start with:

  • Fleetwood, which should be a loss;
  • Coventry, a draw;
  • Barnsley, a loss;
  • Walsall: draw;
  • and Sunderland, which goes down as a win.

If that pans out as predicted, we’ll pick-up five points from five games – only a point a game and not good enough over the full season at that rate. Sort it out, Ardley!!

We will see though, won’t we? And hopefully I will be checking our progress with updates during the season, if the podcast team lets me …

// Jim Potter – @JamPot44

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So, how did we manage that escape? Here’s the analysis of where we bucked historical trends to secure our first division future (above the scum).

So, in our last six games, our results were expected to be:

  • Charlton: draw 1-1;
  • Walsall: most likely lose 3-1;
  • Oldham: also draw (0-0);
  • Wigan: lose 1-0 – the standard home win given as we have not played there before;
  • Doncaster: lose 1-0 (see above!);
  • Bury: win 2-1.

The Charlton game turned into a win: a great start boosting us two points up.

Then, the key game that I think turned our potential into actual survival, the dramatic win at Walsall – 3-2 in stoppage time, in front of all those volunteers on their day out. Pure bliss (Alexa? – Ed).

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comment_180213

So, since the last review at the beginning of November, is our ‘indicator’ – based on past history panning out – predicting our future survival in League 1? Another three months gone, 15 more games down, and it’s time we look at what occurred and what is in store at the ‘business end of the season’.

The loss against Northampton should really not have come as a surprise to anyone as, along with Oxford over the years, they have been one of our bogey teams. This was a banker home loss on the indicator as we have only had three decent results against them ever since we reformed – two draws and a win.

But looking back over the last three months, the surprises on the pitch have definitely correlated to be the surprises we find in the table of expected and actual results. Overall, we have performed pretty much as expected: over this period, we were expected to get 10 points – and that is exactly what we got.

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