Stephen Cleeve: The numbers behind the season so far
- Credit: Ian Burt
I have been looking at some statistics recently given King’s Lynn Town’s current predicament to see if I could find some positives in such a difficult season; maybe even a solution could surface?
Does the answer to our woes lie somewhere in the statistics?
Our points per game record this season is just 0.5 which, without doubt, if it were to continue until the end of the season would spell instant relegation. Our expected goals for the club is 1.24, which is actually pretty good, but our expected goals against is 1.78, which is the complete opposite and very bad.
We have scored 15 goals, but only three of those (20pc) have come from set-plays which, given the number of corners and free-kicks we have been awarded, should be higher. On the flip side, we have conceded 36 goals, with 16 goals coming from set plays (44pc), which is terrible. However, it does mean if we could cut out these dead ball gifts, it would seriously lower the opposition’s chances of scoring. Additionally, we have conceded eight goals (22pc) from giving the ball away in our own half, which surely is a quick fix? So those two areas alone are responsible for 66pc of our goals conceded and could be simple areas that could be tightened up.
Our injuries seem to be far too high compared to other squads so maybe this could also be resolved, which in turn would give the manager many more options on the bench. There are other squads with around 20 players in the league and none of them to my knowledge has had the unfortunate situation of having to field just two substitutes for any game this season, like we did against Torquay recently.
Wealdstone, a well-run part-time club in our league, have notched five wins this season but four of them have been 1-0 victories, so learning not to concede seems almost as important as scoring.
Continuing the positive theme, we have perhaps surprisingly only scored one goal less than both Yeovil and Wealdstone and with the arrival on Thursday of our latest signing, Ken Charles, we have someone else who knows where the back of the net is. In addition, Arthur Iontton has signed and is perhaps the type of player that often goes unnoticed, but can be vital for a team; he excels in breaking up play and then plays simple passes to those that can create opportunities.
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Today’s game at The Walks against Aldershot is without doubt a six-pointer, it does not have quite the same significance for our visitors as they have just won back-to-back games, but Lynn have to record a victory at home sooner rather than later, having picked up just one point from eight games.
We have reduced beer prices to £3 a pint before the game until 2pm and after the game to thank fans for sticking with us as we need their help more than ever and The Walks can be a difficult place to come when in full song.
Our Under-19 team has a clear pathway to the first team and is made up of students studying at KES school and are top of their National League U19 Alliance league. The Under 15s and Under 13s are also top of their JPL leagues. Indeed, we have scouts from Championship clubs and above crawling all over our youngsters’ games, but mostly the players want to stay where they are, rather than be lost in the academy system that fails to deliver in many more cases than it succeeds.
Our first team has plenty of scouts watching today's match as well, so it is not all doom and gloom. There are many players in the league such as our recent signings Iontton and Charles who have played league football and been released. Rejuvenating their careers and believing in them can not only give them a new lease of life but provide the income streams necessary to the lights on at clubs like ours during the winter months.
Off the pitch it has been very busy; for once our hospitality is almost sold out for our Boxing Day fixture against Notts County, which will see King’s Lynn Town wear our third kit, which is the black and white stripes that you would normally associate with our visitors. The reason for the kit change is to support Shelter’s 'No Home Kit' campaign – essentially indicating that we are 'Not at home' and raise awareness of the difficulties facing the homeless across the county. More than 180,000 households have been made homeless since the start of the pandemic and that statistic puts our problems on the pitch into perspective.
Football must be a force for good. Too often commentators make cheap digs at the game’s expense when it does so much to bind communities together. If you are looking for some entertainment, please do come down and watch a game which has all the makings of a classic. I can assure you it will be a full-blooded spectacle, with BT Sport sending cameras for live match reports, and the bookies making it odds on that both teams will score. I think even the statistics show it will be a great match for the neutral.