Not for the first time watching Notts I find myself feeling a little conflicted.
Watching yesterday's win over Dover the inner fan in me manifested many of the frustrations that were evident amongst what appeared to be the majority of the home support, as Ian Burchnall's cohorts set about unpicking Dover's very low 5 + 4 defensive block.
Ruben Rodrigues' 20th goal of the season on 18 minutes suggested Dover might be facing a barrage on their goal of Barnet proportions, however it seemed Notts just couldn't find that extra gear, or level of intensity that would surely have delivered the expected hatful of goals.
The 'frustration' was palpable as a subdued but grumbling home crowd of 6,500 filtered out of Meadow Lane, and it wasn't easy to filter out the accusatory and derisory comments echoing out from many of the Notts faithful.
I would be lying if I said I didn't share the same frustrations, but mine, and I'm sure the same can be said of many others, are probably more to do with a despair and desperation in acknowledging that another year in non-league football is once again a possible scenario.
If you add to that the distinct possibility that, retrospectively, both Forest and Mansfield are looking good for promotion and you have yourself an unpalatable cocktail of footballing emotions.
This is where the 'confliction' enters the mix. Football is, after all an emotional game, that's what makes it the best sport in the world, and at times that is why I find it difficult to separate the emotive element from the analytical.
Unfortunately, the moment I decided to delve into the complex world of football statistics and data analysis it was always going to be a challenge, needing to consciously separate and be aware of my emotional bias, and to ensure this is evident in the content I publish.
With this in mind it's important we review the match data without bias, avoid subjectivity and focus on the objective.
Despite the general feeling that Notts lacked any desire or intensity you would have to question that based on the stats.
The second highest non penalty xG of the season suggests there were enough high value chances to score a few more than the only goal converted.
Dover sitting very deep meant that Notts had more time in possession, which in turn resulted in more passes than usual. You could argue when this happens it slows down the build up play as the attacking team work to penetrate the low block.
This is further confirmed when we look at the 'Match Tempo' and 'PPDA' numbers.
Notts have the highest PPDA Against in the league, managing an average of just over 14 attacking phase passes. Against Dover this was just under 21 passes per attacking phase.
Additionally Match Tempo for Notts was a whopping 19.41. This relates to the total number of team passes per minute of absolute possession.
These metrics might counter the 'no intensity' argument as it would appear Notts were making a lot of passes per minute, which in fairness they were. However we also have to appreciate that Notts enjoyed nearly 73% possession so a higher pass rate per minute of possession would expected.
One other stand out stat was the number of crosses Notts managed to get in. They have averaged just shy of 17 crosses per game for the season so far, an average that has probably been boosted a little by the 30 crosses made during this game. Again, this might help to dispel the argument regarding the perceived lack of intensity.
Either way Notts were clearly dominant and based on the stats, on another day Dover may well have been on the wrong end of a sound beating.
Points needed updated:
Click on the legend tags at the top to filter options.
Progress updated and we find ourselves in exactly the same place that we finished last season.
National League results tracker updated.
Goal segment chart:
Six game segments updated. 12 Points from 18 so far in this final 8 game segment.
Player stats updated: Matty Palmer the first player to break 4,000 minutes this season for Notts in the National League.
As usual this is the new table that is also available to view on the player stats page of the website here. There will also be separate tables for the two cup competitions.
Goals and assists chart. 20 up for Rodrigues!
Goal scatter charts updated.
You can hover on the dots (tap if on a touch screen) to view details for each goal.
xG (expected goals). As mentioned earlier this was the second highest non-penalty xG value recorded in the league for Notts this season. The chart below tells it's own story.
Key xG match stats: 94% expected win % and 2.880 expected points.
Player xG Stats:
National League goal scorers includes cup games, penalties and own goals. Wrexham's Paul Mullin has now overtaken injury stricken Kabongo Tshimanga as leading scorer in the National League with 25 goals.
Ian Burchnall's record updated after 68 games.
Altrincham are the visitors on Saturday for Notts' last home game of the regular season. A chance to further cement a 5th place finish and a home tie in the play-offs, although Alty might be on a bit of a high having just announced their intention to become a full time professional club. We should wish them the best of luck in their endeavours, but not until after Saturday's encounter!
As always thanks for reading.