It might not have been the full 3 points we wanted but a draw with fellow challengers Mansfield has propelled City back to the top of League Two. Next up is a trip up to Oldham. Here are some things to look out for:
1) The Latics (All Oldham Athletic stats are League only)
It’s been a mixed start to Oldham’s latest spell in the 4th tier. 19 games, 6 wins, 7 draws, 6 losses tells you everything you need to know. Mid-table through-and-through. They started relatively brightly, winning 4 of their opening 8 but have since failed to get any sort of positive momentum together. Since winning at Blundell Park on September 15th, they’ve won just 2.
They’ve performed well against struggling teams, winning 5 and drawing 3 of their games against teams below them. However, they’ve struggled to come to terms with the better sides in the division, winning just 1 in the 9 games against sides above them. Away from home, they tend to play in low-scoring affairs with just 17 goals in total in their 10 away games (the 2nd lowest average in the division). Thankfully, at home, there’s been more entertainment and Athletic currently sit 4th in terms of average total goals in games on their own turf (28 in 9).
If you fancy a tip, 44% of their home fixtures have been 1-0 to the opposition at half-time. In fact, at home, they’ve only been winning once at half-time. They’re more dangerous after the break though, 78% of their goals come in 2nd half.
I’ve seen some criticism of the way we use substitutes recently. I think it’s unfair. We all love a change when the game hits a lull and the legs to go on some of the attackers and so do our managers. Only once this season have we not used 3 substitutes. The attacking nature of out substitutions is clear, our most introduced players from the bench are Green (15 times), Rhead (11), Akinde (7), and Andrade (6).
The offensive nature of these switches has reaped rewards for us too. In our 24 games thus far, substitutes have scored 8 goals and assisted 4. That’s 12 goal contributions in 24 games meaning that, on average, a sub makes or scores a goal every other game. This is influencing scores as well. In the period of games after we’ve made our first change, our goal difference is +10. In terms of actual results, we’ve gained 13 points in the period after making our first change (Cup games assigned League-style points for this metric).
Super-sub Kellan Gordon is making a habit of influencing games too with both his goals coming when he’s appeared off the bench, partially due to him often lining up at right-back when he starts. So far, he’s only played 15% of the minutes total but that will surely climb if he continues to impress as he has in recent weeks.
3) Matt Green
Now to talk about our most-introduced player. 68% of Matt’s appearances have come from the bench meaning that despite only missing 2 games all season, he’s only played 33% of the total minutes. However, when you’re looking at the numbers, he’s on fire. He’s scored 5 times and created 3 in his time on the field meaning he’s got a goal contribution every 96 minutes. Seeing as our average game this season lasts 97.3 minutes, that’s a goal or assist a game.
However, an alternate way of looking at things is that his 2 goals and assist in November are his first since August. He went almost 2 full months without a goal contribution and his stats are propped up on his early-season flurry. I really like Green and want him to succeed, hopefully, his assist last time out and brace against Wolves youngsters can fire him on to grab some more and show his value. If you count the Wolves game as a draw as I do for my stats, we’re unbeaten when Matt has scored or assisted.