Barrow 0 - 2 Notts County
Notts make it 3 wins in 8 days with victory over the league leaders at Holker Street. Ardley and Cox surprised everyone with a 532 formation for the first time this season and it seemed to do the trick.
Again the world of football statistics has decided the National League has very little importance so match data is quite scarce.
Notts' PPG has increased slightly again to 1.58 and now sees a season total prediction of just under 73 points, now just 2 points adrift of the 75 point target I had set to guarantee a play off place, though it seems that is now a little higher than what will be needed.
The win and 3 points ensured Notts held onto 6th place, now just 3 points behind 3rd place Yeaovil with a game in hand.
Points needed for third place has now dropped further again to 75 points and Barrow are still predicted to finish first their points forecast has dropped slightly to 87 points. Harrogate missed out on a chance to close the gap on Barrow to 2 points after failing to beat Bromley at home in the live TV game.
Current PPG for 7th remains at 67 points.
Looking at league position progress there is now a consistent top 7 pattern forming with average position for the last 12 games now edging towards 6th place.
We have now seen an equal number of home and away league games played.
Notts have accrued 32 points at home with a PPG of 1.77 and a very healthy +14 GD.
The wins at Fylde and Barrow this week have helped to improve the away form which was pretty much league average before this week. Points gained away from home has jumped up to 25 meaning 1.39 PPG and a +3 GD.
Season stats after this weekend's matches vs the NL average.
Goals scored/conceded by time segment. The table below is starting to suggest Notts are good value for a goal in the second half of a game.
With 36 games played I have updated the 6 match segment chart. This allows us to break the points gained down into segments of 6 matches to give an idea of how certain periods in the season compare regarding good, poor or indifferent form.
Moving onto player stats and minutes played all competitions for the season. Minutes on the pitch are now being spread around as Neal Ardley starts to utilise his squad rotation.
Tom Crawford and Cal Roberts did themselves no harm both scoring and assisting in the win at Barrow, moving them both up the minutes per goal involvement table.
Kyle Wooton continues to lead the goals + assists table with 16 goals and 4 assists in all competitions.
Kristian Dennis remains the most efficient striker of those scoring 2 or more goals taking 142 mins to score a goal or a goal every 1.58 games.
The display at Barrow proved to be impressive at both ends of the pitch with Notts being resilient in defence and clinical in attack.
Attacking efficiency (away)
Notts currently manage to score roughly every 6.5 attempts at goal away from home.
Defensive resilience (away)
Notts concede a goal roughly every 8 attempts against away from home.
The above charts do not include the Fylde game due to lack of suitable data.
Moving on to our regular look at how the table could pan out over the remaining games and things continue to look better for Notts, it is noticeable as well that one or two of the top 13 who all have a chance of a play off place are starting to drift away again.
I explained this in my last post but it won't hurt to explain it again for those who missed it. I run a calculation that takes a teams points and expected goal difference for the season so far and overlay it with the same stats for the last 10 games. This then gives a value that suggests the maximum and minimum points and goal difference they can expect to have at the end of the season.
Of course it is still only predictive but at this stage of the season the values calculated do hold some weight and continue to throw up some interesting results.
It's quite clear now that there is a block of teams that will most likely be fighting it out for the play off spots.
Barrow continue to look favourites for the title but Harrogate will still fancy their chances of catching them atlthough they remain 4 points behind and Barrow have played a game less.
Halifax were on a good run but were sunk 2-0 at home to Woking on saturday who remain in the play off mix.
Yeovil's form had dropped significantly but two wins in the last two sees them climb back up to 3rd place but unless they continue to win games another drop in form will see them dropping places quite quickly but they look good for a top 7 finish.
Where Notts are concerned it has been a very good few days with the 6 points firmly embedding them in the play off race. Additionally a win at home to 17th place Aldershot on Tuesday night will see a move up to 3rd on goal difference with a very winnable game against 16th place Eastleigh to follow at Meadow Lane on Staurday.
The calculations would also suggest the current top 6 should be in the top 7 come the end of the season with the final play off place looking like a fight between Woking, Hartlepool and Dover with Hartlepool looking the most threatening at this time. Barnet still have games in hand but unless they improve on current form there is nothing to suggest they will have enough to force themselves into the play off mix.
Of course as always all it takes is for a team to go on an amazing uncharacteristic run or likewise to go on an uncharacteristically bad run and the above predictions change again but with games running out I'd like to think the expected position calculations I'm using will continue to provide a reasonably accurate forecast.
Finally, I thought I would update the Neal Ardley stats. From a personal point of view it's pleasing to see him show some tactical nouse and with the return of key players from injury coupled with what looks again to be some very astute loan signings there is every reason to believe a top 3 position is achievable.
Ardley's overall win percentage has increased to just over 38.5% and is nearly 42% for the league so far this season and this rises to nearly 48% for the season in all competitions.
So on to Tuesday and Aldershot at home where hopefully we can reverse the result at their place back in November and get a hold of that 3rd place. Preview to follow.
As always thanks for reading, COYP!
Cover pic Dan Westwell