A routine derby win (phew) last time out and although there’s no confirmation yet as to whether Grimsby are contesting anything else with the FA, I think the points are safe. Now it’s the kind of fixture that Danny and Nicky relish and a game they’ve unsurprisingly been keen to underline the importance of. Here are some things to look out for:
1) The Glovers (All Yeovil Town stats are League only)
Yeovil are struggling in League Two. Despite occasional flashes of inspiration, they strike me as an inoffensive side who lack the venom to trouble the upper reaches of the division. This is pretty clear when looking at the table, with the Glovers carrying an unimpressive but not disastrous goal tally of 30 in 27 fixtures (18 fewer than the Imps). Without watching the frequently, I can’t comment as to whether this is a result of a tactical system to prevent conceding too many or merely the lack of much firepower.
If it’s the former, it’s certainly working at the defensive end. As it stands they have conceded fewer goals than Colchester, Bury and Carlisle (although playing 2 fewer) and have managed 4 clean sheets in their last 8 games. However, 3 of these have come on the road. In fact, their away form, particularly the defensive record, is stellar. In 13 games away from Huish Park, they’ve conceded just 12 with half of those coming in a shocking 4 days in straddling September to October.
The good news is obviously, given their current position, that their home form is dire. A loss to Lincoln would give them comfortably the worst home record in League Two. They’re already bottom of the home table, averaging less than a point a game and with just 2 wins in 14. Conversely, a win for the Imps would give the Cowleys’ men the best travelling record in the division. While they have managed to draw more than they’ve lost at Huish Park, they’ve already lost by 3 goals 3 times when hosting; generous.
Another cause for optimism for the dedicated Imps supporters that make the trip is that the Glovers have recently lost an influential player in Jordan Green who impressed at Sincil Bank and we can thank for his last contribution for Yeovil, a winner at Mansfield.
Finally, in what feels like déjà vu, it would be remiss of not to mention the possibility of a late goal. I won’t reel out the stats on how many late goals we manage to grab, you should all be amply aware of that by now. Yeovil though, are another League Two side susceptible to a late sucker punch. They’ve conceded 56% of their total goals after the break and 28% of their total after the 80-minute mark.
2) Making it hard for the goalkeeper
I’ve discussed the way in which we score goals in these articles before. I’ve mentioned where our assists come from, who gets them, when we score, and how efficient we are (just as a reminder, very). However, what I want to quickly touch on today is where we actually put the ball. Obviously where a shot is aimed at is highly affected by the nature of the chance: the distance, goalkeeper’s position, how the ball arrives etc. However, this doesn’t mean players don’t enter the games with specific guidance and a general rule of thumb. This could be for the season as a whole or adjusted based on tendencies noticed by studying an upcoming goalkeeper; no stone unturned and so on.
We all love seeing the kind of strike McCartan recently produced where the ball rockets beyond a flying goalkeeper into the top of the net but, as with shooting from range, it’s perhaps not the most effective method. So far this season, 69% of Lincoln City’s goals have crossed the line in the lower half of the goal with 60% ending up in a bottom corner (with the goal divided into 6 portions) – 29% into the bottom left and 31% into the bottom right if you were wondering. Now, this is broadly shared with all teams, any old-school coach worth his salt will drill “hit it hard and low” into his recruits. However, it’s so far been more common with the Imps than their opponents who, as mentioned in sections on efficiency, are more inclined to opt for speculative but less effective efforts. By comparison, 59% of our opponents’ goals have gone in the bottom half, a noticeably lower proportion than ourselves.
I thought I’d also look at if the proportion changes when looking at our most proficient goalscorers. Of the 24 goals scored by our top 3, 92% (22) have gone into the bottom half of the goal. It seems to me that the forwards are under no illusions over where to stick the ball.