comment_190317

So, on the back of the first home win in 2019, the simple question is: can we survive in League 1? How does our predictive, history-led analysis predict going forward? Considering how we’ve not managed to hit these results through the season, does it even give us hope, or despair?

Our last look at this analysis followed our home win against Plymouth on Boxing Day; in the league it’s been a long wait for the next one, arriving this weekend against Doncaster. That marks the 10 games to go point in the season which symmetrically counterpoints the ‘see where we are after 10 games into the season.’

Before we look to the near future, we need to see what has happened since the last update. At 24 games played, we had 21 pts (0.875 pts per game); 52% of the games had been played and we had achieved just 32% of our potential (66pts) and only 40% of our survival target (53 pts).

Now we have 33 points from 36 games (0.92 pts per game); 78% of the games have now gone and we have achieved just 50% of our potential haul and 62% of our survival target. So what lies behind these headline figures?

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comment_190110

So, it wasn’t meant to be like this, was it? How does our predictive, history-led analysis stack up against reality? And given our current predicament, is there any hope left for the season?

Co-incidence is a strange animal. It creeps up on you when you least expect it; but expect it you should because it’s really history (in the game). Think, really… first game in the New Year is Fleetwood and who’s still in the Cup? Yep, a nailed on certainty (why didn’t I hit the bookies then?)

Likewise , in our last analysis, it was just after we played Plymouth away so it is that this analysis follows Plymouth at home. So more than half the season gone, Neal Ardley’s gone, Neil Cox is gone and the club feels ripe for change and perhaps change is both a-coming and required. We’ll see.

And change on the pitch has very much been what we have needed. With first Simon B/Stephen Reid in charge, a touch of stability ensued and gradually things are appearing to get better. But how does this relate to our table of predictive results?

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We have conducted interviews with all eleven candidates for election to The Dons Trust Board, and you can watch them all now on YouTube by simply following the links below.

Matt Breach – https://youtu.be/CxxL8Jlqi2Q (audio only)

Mark Brewer – https://youtu.be/va1vwaQcjME

Rob Crane – https://youtu.be/ERgKpPSnX38

Nigel Higgs – https://youtu.be/3APILOpu7JA

Tim Hillyer – https://youtu.be/G-Pc-YWSsKQ (audio only)

Anna Kingsley – https://youtu.be/VdM67V3qgq0

Hannah Kitcher – https://youtu.be/amd2EKRkWMw

Dennis Lowndes – https://youtu.be/nX1OtG7s2KI

James Macdonald – https://youtu.be/6fpU-GMhsvU

Luke Mackenzie – https://youtu.be/FImiz_Q8iEs

Sean McLaughlin – https://youtu.be/6bNkwT_xVAM

Four places are available on the board. Manifestos for all 11 candidates can be viewed at http://thedonstrust.org/files/Combined-candidate-statements.pdf.

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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