Last night’s game is done.
There’s nothing really that can be gained by us from simply saying how bad it was, that’s up to Michael and the training staff. They’re the ones tasked with picking the team up, changing players where needed and getting us back on an even footing. After all, Accrington are in freefall and whilst we were well beaten last night, we’d lost one in seven before kick-off. We’ll be in a better place in January, for sure, but we’ll be in a better place come Saturday as well, if only because Adam Jackson is back.
What I do want to do is have a look at some of the players who registered stats you might find interesting, as some prove (and dispel) some of the stuff I’ve been reading on social media.
As Michael pointed out, we were not at the races when it came to aerial duels. I’m afraid the stats back that up as well; TJ Eyoma contested 16 aerial duels, winning just 41%. Lewis Montsma contested fewer, just nine, winning 33%. Jamie Robson (8) and Regan Poole (6) both had success rates under 40%. That means every one of our back four was beaten in the air on more occasions than their opposite numbers. Only one player won more than 50% of their headers; Lasse Sorensen, winning two of three. Who would have thought it, a Danny Cowley team using their advantage in the air? We knew what to expect, but we can’t be too hard on the management team; who else could we have brought in who would have done better?
It was also a tough night for Freddie Draper; he contested ten aerial duels, and won just two. To his credit, he kept trying to win those balls despite being up against a player who was rarely beaten in the air by much more experienced and brutal centre forwards.
A defensive duel is a tackle, a challenge for a ball with an opposing player, and some of the numbers are not pretty. Chris Maguire had the most duels during the game, 13, of which he won 60%. TJ Eyoma and Conor McGrandles were next, they both made 11, with TJ winning 72% of his, and Conor winning 54%. Unsurprisingly, the lowest number was from young Freddie, as you’d expect from a striker, with Lewis Fiorini next. He contested four defensive duels all game, although he did win all four. Ted Bishop also contested four, winning just two. For me, the game was won and lost in the middle of the park, and I felt we just didn’t engage with the opposition in the right manner in that area.
On the way home I heard Mark Hone on the radio suggest every time Lasse passed the ball, it went to a blue shirt. It might surprise you to know that he wasn’t the most inaccurate player in a Lincoln shirt, three had a lower percentage than him. He registered 26 passes, with a 76% accuracy rate. Three players were less accurate, Lewis Fiorini (29 passes, 74%), Jamie Robson (44 passes, 70%) and Regan Poole (54 passes, 70%).
There were bright spots; Ted Bishop didn’t misplace a single pass, he made 21 with a 100% accuracy. Conor McGrandles, who I was quite quick to judge, had a decent game in terms of accuracy as well; 52 passes generating an 86% success rate.
I think the biggest problem people had around me was the backwards passing; at times we seemed to go backwards for the sake of it. Notable instances were a free-kick we got inside the Pompey half that we played backwards and lost. It was frustrating at times, and whilst I’ve no problem with playing out from the back, nor going backwards to try and stretch the game, sometimes it does look really negative.
Backward pass stats might be unfair on some; if you get to the byline and pull the ball back to a midfielder, that’s a backwards pass but not necessarily a negative one. Maybe that explains why our two wide players, Maguire and Bishop, were in the top three for backwards passes. Ted Bishop made ten backwards passes, whilst Chris Maguire made eight. I guess the one player you don’t want to see making them is the holding midfielder; McGrandles made nine, although they were all accurate.
Before you say it, yes, we attacked. We had ten shots according to Wyscout, four of which came from Lewis Fiorini. the next highest was from Hakeeb Adelakun, who did well when he came on. in fact, one of his efforts drew a decent save from the Pompey keeper and came during a spell where I thought we might get back into the game. Other than that, a handful of players had a single shot, but I don’t recall too much troubling Bazunu. I know xG is a metric people don’t rate, but Fiorini had a 0.1 xG from his four shots – that means all four were speculative, from range and statistically not likely to beat the keeper. The player with the highest xG was Haks on 0.22, with Chris Maguire picking up a 0.10 for his curling effort on 57 minutes.