Willand Vs Melksham
Statistics have been on my mind this week. Not because I have a particular interest in the genre but because I have an assignment due on Friday.
Statistics, as a rule, are dull. Correlation Coefficient and Linear Regression should be confined to the classroom and never see the light of day, never mind the football arena.
That doesn’t mean to say that they are always boring, though in football we do have our moments (predicted goals per game anyone?) but sometimes even statistics can create a spark of conversation in even the most maligned of pub clientele.
For example, this week we found out that Everton have now lost more points this season than 7.6% of League clubs (the astute amongst you will quickly be able to work out the number of clubs that is!) The other fall out from Everton’s point deduction is that if there’s a correlation between their punitive punishment, after facing a single charge, and Man City, who faced 115, the champions could find themselves far from the Bernabau next season and planning their trips to Harrison Park, home of Leek Town (although lets be honest, there’s more chance of Rishi Sunak saving the northern blue wall than the Premiership allowing the Manchester blues get a meaningful punishment).
There are other fascinating statistical facts that you can draw upon should you find yourself in a conversational lull.
For instance, as good as Owen Howe is from the spot, he’s got a long way to go to match Matt Le Tissier who has a 98% success rate taking penalties.
And that up to the 2020/21 season, the average points to win the Premier League was 88, while to win the Fantasy Premier League you would require over 2000 points just to finish in the top 30.
And the most pertinent, Mansfield Town have drawn 47% of their games this season, yet still occupy 2nd place in League Two.
The opponents for today’s game came in the form of Melksham, who found themselves artificially nestled in midtable, with games in hand over their hosts, and with similar points per game.
Willand started the match without Milton and Searle in defence, replaced by ever versatile Guppy in the centre of defence and Wright who slotted into at left back.
It was the home team that created an excellent opportunity in the opening minutes, Moulden breaking down the right, his well placed cross falling at the feet of Howe, unmarked in the centre of the penalty area. The statistics would have told you that the Willand skipper, already with eight league goals to his name, was odds on to bury the ball in the back of the net, but somehow Willand’s moustachioed marksman contrived to blaze over the bar and potentially in to Somerset, such was the velocity and launch angle of his strike.
Melksham nearly made the home team pay a minute later when a rasping shot from Porton stung Burton’s hands as he deflected it past the post and in an end to end opening to the game it was Hewitt who was next to come close, rattling the bar with his well struck shot.
That, unfortunately, was all the excitement the first half could muster, save for the shattering symphony as another mishit Willand shot sailed over the bar and smashed emphatically into the greenhouse of one of our Silver Street neighbours. Tiverton glass should really consider a sponsorship deal.
HT Willand 0 – Melksham 0
The second half plodded on much as the first had done and but for a frantic 5 minutes that saw Melskham in the ascendancy. Willand were first saved by an excellent defensive header from Bray from under the bar, while a drilled shot that somehow evaded the diving efforts of a Melksham forward at the far post drew a collective sigh of relief from the Willand faithful. The tsunami of activity concluded when Burton managed to claw the ball from under the bar, following which there was very little else to compel me to put pen toward paper (or finger toward phone should the truth be told).
In the end it could be described, perhaps in other media, as a well fought point, but as Willand rarely engage in 0-0 draws, I would imagine that all but the most die hard of fans would have left at full time feeling slightly underwhelmed, not with the effort on display, but definitely by the spectacle.
In parlance that I’ve come to loath, it was as we say, a statistically insignificant game.
FT Willand 0 – Melksham 0
Man of the match was Keiren Bailey selected by match sponsors WT Consultancy