Nobody can claim that 2014 has been a vintage year on the pitch. Looking through the figures from the last twelve months perhaps reflects this: without consistent performances the statistics lead us toward some rather surprising conclusions.
But first the facts: we played 54 games in 2014 and won 38% of them, losing 33%. Appropriately in a mediocre year, that’s pretty much mid-table form: in fact, if those figures were applied to the current table we’d gain just half a point and go up one place! That’s a slightly dispiriting fact: the second half of the 2013-14 season was a washout, yet our average performance over the whole year is the same as what we’ve achieved in the current season so far.
Our home record is appreciably better than our results on the road, with 48% of games at The Racecourse won, although those figures are boosted by our cup form as we’ve a 100% record from our four home cup ties this year. Let’s get Stoke back for a replay then!
Three players have made over fifty appearances for us in 2014: Neil Ashton made 51 starts; Mark Carrington made the same number of appearances; but one was from the bench, and Joe Clarke started 50 times. Some unexpected facts are thrown up by these stats. Did you expect Steve Tomassen to have appeared more times this year than Dan Bachmann and Theo Bailey-Jones, for instance?
Ashton also heads a rather less coveted category, as he has the most yellow cards! He picked up ten during 2014, two ahead of Connor Jennings and three in front of Jay Harris.
We’ve picked up eight red cards in 2014, two each going to Andy Bishop and Louis Moult, although one of the latter’s was overturned on appeal. In total the team has accumulated 21 games of suspensions in 2014, and considering his eagerness to reduce disciplinary issues Kevin Wilkin will be frustrated to note that 14 of those suspensions have been this season.
On the other hand, congratulations to Elliott Durrell,who made 32 appearances without picking up a card! However, he did miss the last 14 games of last season through injury, although the player most seriously afflicted has been Dean Keates, who has been unavailable for 21 matches, or 39% of our matches in 2014.
The goalscoring statistics make good reading for Louis Moult, who is equal top scorer of 2014 despite only joining in the Summer. The fact that only one other player – Andy Bishop – got into double figures reflects a year in which we’ve failed to properly catch fire in front of goal.
Unsurprising, Moult comes out on top when we compare the players’ strike rate too, and his four assists also mean he’s the most effective attacking player in terms of combined strike and assist rate: he either scores or sets a goal up every 1.8 games: that’s every 162 minutes. If you disregard two statistical outliers in Adrian Cieslewicz and Bradley Reid, who didn’t play enough game to form a reliable sequence of figures, then the player with the best assist rate is Wes York.
The biggest surprise comes when we compare the records of our defenders. While it’s obviously only a rough estimation of a defender’s efficiency, calculating how often the team concedes while they’re playing at the back will give an idea of how well they’ve done. The outcome is a bit of a shock though: it turns out that the back four was most impenetrable when David Artell was at the heart of it!
The comparative records of the three men who’ve occupied the bench this season make for interesting reading. Kevin Wilkin’s win and loss percentages come top of the tree, while Billy Barr’s unhappy spell as caretaker doesn’t stand comparison with those of his predecessor or successor. However, Andy Morrell’s win percentage is actually better than Wilkin’s in the league.