Lower Leagues, R21 (Dec 8)

There have been 31 goalless draws so far in League One and League Two. Indeed we Scorecasting Economists saw one of them earlier in the season. Will there be any more this weekend? If The Model is to be believed, then no.

The eye-catching match in League One, surely, is Sunderland’s visit to Accrington Stanley. This is the first meeting between the two clubs for a mere 124 years, and the first league meeting for 126 years. When they met back in 1892, Sunderland routed Stanley 6-0. The Model thinks it’ll only be 1-0 to Sunderland tomorrow (10%).

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Sunderland 0-1 10% 28% 44%
AFC W Rochdale 2-1 8% 45% 27%
Blackpool Charlton 1-0 10% 60% 17%
Bristol R Doncaster 0-1 9% 22% 52%
Burton Shrewsbury 1-2 5% 25% 47%
Luton Fleetwood 1-0 10% 53% 21%
Peterboro Oxford 2-1 8% 50% 23%
Plymouth Bradford 0-1 3% 32% 39%
Portsmouth Southend 1-0 11% 69% 12%
Scunthorpe Gillingham 2-3 3% 29% 42%
Walsall Coventry 1-0 6% 58% 18%
Wycombe Barnsley 0-1 14% 21% 53%

Sol Campbell gets going with Macclesfield at the bottom of the Football League this weekend, as Macc make the tough trip to Essex’s finest, Colchester United. The Model doesn’t think Sol will have solved Macc’s defensive problems just yet, predicting a 2-0 defeat (10%). The Great Western Railway Derby between Swindon and Newport looks set to go the Welshmen’s way, 1-0 (9%).

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Bury Exeter 1-0 5% 47% 26%
Cheltenham Grimsby 0-1 11% 31% 41%
Colchester Macclesfield 2-0 10% 61% 16%
Crawley N’hampton 1-2 6% 30% 41%
Crewe Oldham 0-1 9% 19% 57%
Mansfield Notts Co 1-0 11% 59% 17%
MK Dons Carlisle 1-0 12% 50% 23%
Morecambe Port Vale 0-1 12% 31% 40%
Stevenage Lincoln 0-1 11% 18% 57%
Swindon Newport Co 0-1 9% 25% 47%
Tranmere Cambridge 2-0 11% 64% 14%
Yeovil Forest Green 1-1 12% 36% 35%
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Lower Leagues, R20 (Nov 27)

It’s the archetypal midweek night tonight – wet and windy. Can they do it on a wet Tuesday night in <insert bleak usually northern town here>?  We’ll find out this evening. The Model backs only Gillingham and Charlton to go to another place (Bristol and Burton) and “do it”, in League One, and thinks even League Two leaders won’t manage to do it at Oldham this evening, only drawing 1-1 (10%). Indeed, only Carlisle are expected to “do it” elsewhere other than at home tonight, with a 2-1 win expected at beleaguered Notts County (9%). Another John Sheridan-inspired win for Carlisle at one of his former managerial posts? Are the oldest football club about to fall out of the Football League?

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Wycombe 2-1 9% 57% 19%
Bristol R Gillingham 0-1 5% 28% 44%
Burton Charlton 1-2 8% 25% 48%
Doncaster Blackpool 1-1 11% 35% 36%
Fleetwood Coventry 1-0 11% 60% 17%
Luton Bradford 1-0 10% 64% 15%
Oxford Rochdale 2-1 9% 40% 31%
Peterborough AFC Wimbledon 2-1 10% 60% 17%
Portsmouth Walsall 1-0 17% 54% 20%
Shrewsbury Plymouth 2-1 9% 52% 22%
Southend Scunthorpe 2-1 8% 43% 29%
Sunderland Barnsley 1-0 11% 45% 27%
Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Bury Cheltenham 1-0 12% 52% 22%
Crewe Cambridge U 2-0 14% 42% 30%
Exeter Macclesfield 2-0 16% 64% 14%
Forest Green Colchester 1-0 14% 40% 31%
Grimsby Tranmere 0-0 17% 34% 37%
Mansfield Crawley 1-0 16% 58% 18%
MK Dons Morecambe 2-0 16% 61% 16%
Newport Co Northampton 1-0 11% 50% 24%
Notts Co Carlisle 1-2 9% 20% 55%
Oldham Lincoln 1-1 10% 35% 37%
Swindon Stevenage 1-0 12% 55% 20%
Yeovil Port Vale 1-0 22% 44% 28%

Lower Leagues, R19 (Nov 23-24)

A rarity this evening: a Friday night match outside the Premier League or Championship. A match between the less-mighty-than-they-used-to-be Coventry City, and the club-in-the-wrong-league Peterborough United (at least according to one of those dated articles you can find if you can actually find BBC Sport’s lower league coverage these days. And even when you get there you find half of the stories are about the Championship anyway).

If Peterborough do as expected and win 1-0 (20%), that winning goal will be merely the 173,047th goal in the third tier of professional English league football, ever.

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
AFC W Southend 0-1 19% 29% 42%
Barnsley Doncaster 1-0 10% 50% 23%
Blackpool Burton 1-0 9% 58% 18%
Bradford Oxford 1-2 6% 29% 42%
Charlton Bristol R 1-0 13% 65% 14%
Coventry Peterboro 0-1 20% 20% 54%
Gillingham Luton 1-2 8% 31% 40%
Plymouth Fleetwood 0-0 14% 33% 38%
Rochdale Accrington 1-1 13% 37% 34%
Scunthorpe Portsmouth 1-1 11% 32% 39%
Walsall Sunderland 0-1 12% 28% 44%
Wycombe Shrewsbury 0-1 8% 26% 47%

In League Two, or the Fourth Division, things trundle on as the halfway point of the season nears. Reflecting that a fourth division was only created in 1959, the first goal on Saturday in League Two will be merely the 84,799th goal ever at this level. Who will get it? Perhaps Bury? Carlisle? Cheltenham or Newport? Colchester? Crawley? Crewe? Lincoln? Yeovil? Morecambe? Old-stagers Notts County? Swindon? Or MK Dons? These are the only teams The Models thinks will score this weekend…

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Cambridge Bury 0-1 14% 18% 58%
Carlisle F Green 1-0 14% 59% 18%
Cheltenham Newport 1-1 12% 37% 34%
Colchester Exeter 1-0 11% 41% 31%
Crawley Crewe 1-1 11% 36% 35%
Lincoln Mansfield 1-0 19% 55% 20%
Macc Yeovil 0-1 16% 29% 42%
M’cambe Notts Co 2-1 4% 41% 31%
N’hampton Grimsby 0-0 23% 38% 33%
Port Vale Swindon 0-1 21% 29% 42%
Stevenage MK Dons 0-1 18% 30% 42%
Tranmere Oldham 0-0 16% 38% 33%

Lower Leagues, R18 (Nov 17)

In the week that the Premier League decided to give its outgoing CEO a £5m bonus, the lower leagues carry on. Sunderland, probably the only team in the lower leagues still paying any of its players anything close to £5m in a year, will hope to continue their seemingly relentless march back into the Championship – where arguably a team with a 49,000 stadium belongs, as a minimum. They’re overwhelming favourites to beat plucky Wycombe (74%), and do so 1-0 (11%). But Wycombe have made a habit of upsetting the odds this season already…

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Accrington Barnsley 1-1 11% 33% 38%
Bristol R Scunthorpe 1-0 24% 43% 29%
Burton Coventry 3-2 5% 45% 27%
Doncaster AFC W’don 1-0 18% 52% 22%
Fleetwood Walsall 1-0 21% 44% 28%
Luton Plymouth 2-1 8% 58% 18%
Oxford Gillingham 2-1 7% 42% 29%
Peterboro Bradford 1-0 11% 64% 15%
Portsmouth Charlton 1-0 11% 47% 26%
Shrewsbury Rochdale 1-0 14% 40% 31%
Southend Blackpool 0-0 26% 36% 35%
Sunderland Wycombe 1-0 11% 74% 10%

Two of the Football League’s most hapless teams (aside from Macclesfield, who look doomed to relegation already), Notts County and Cheltenham meet at Meadow Lane. Founder members of the Football League in 1888, Notts County have rarely plumbed these depths. Before this season, they had started a mere 25 home matches in a lower position than they currently occupy, 90th out of 92 teams. At it looks like things may yet get worse, as Cheltenham are expected to win (49%), and do so 1-0 (4%).

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Bury Stevenage 1-0 6% 64% 15%
Crewe Tranmere 1-2 9% 22% 51%
Exeter N’hampton 5-1 7% 46% 26%
Forest Green Morecambe 2-0 11% 57% 19%
Grimsby Crawley 2-1 4% 40% 31%
Mansfield Port Vale 1-0 12% 64% 15%
MK Dons Macclesfield 1-0 14% 62% 16%
Newport Co Colchester 2-1 8% 50% 24%
Notts Co Cheltenham 0-1 4% 24% 49%
Oldham Cambridge U 2-0 11% 62% 16%
Swindon Carlisle 1-0 11% 42% 29%
Yeovil Lincoln 0-1 9% 22% 51%

Lower Leagues, R17b (Nov 6)

It’s another residual night in the lower leagues this evening, with four rearranged games across two divisions caused by international call-ups. League One looks like it’ll be a barrel of laughs, with a 1-1 and a 0-0 predicted, but League Two looks set to feature a few more goals.

Blackpool’s 534th ever Tuesday night game is Gillingham’s 540th ever Tuesday night game, and indeed this is the fourth time ever that the two have met on a Tuesday night – not the most pleasant of journeys for the Tangerines, a mere 279 miles. One goal a piece for all those travelling fans tonight…

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Gillingham Blackpool 1-1 0.11898685 0.37182085 0.33884893
Walsall Charlton 0-0 0.16342915 0.37516812 0.33565163

In League Two, Oldham are hoping to party like it’s 1994 at Meadow Lane. In no less than the sixth Tuesday night meeting between the two clubs in Nottingham, Oldham hope to recreate that 1994 August evening when they won 3-1. The Model gives them an 8% chance of doing so, and a 44% chance of winning overall, what would be their second ever league Tuesday night win at Notts County.

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Mansfield 1-0 Grimsby 19% 55% 20%
Notts Co 1-3 Oldham 8% 28% 44%

Lower Leagues, R17 (Nov 3)

Some teams are yo-yo teams, going up and down the leagues regularly. Others tend to stick around a while. Rochdale, for example, are renowned for spending most of their existence in the league’s basement. In their entire existence, Rochdale have been promoted a mere four times, and relegated three times – less indeed than even the mighty Manchester United. At the other end of the scale, League One inhabitants Doncaster have been promoted 12 times, and relegated 13 times. Sitting in 8th place currently, they have more of an eye on promotion than relegation this season, it would seem (and our model gives them an 18% chance of promotion, 0% chance of relegation). A tough fixture at Charlton this weekend awaits, with a 1-0 defeat most likely (10%).

Forecast Win (%)
League One Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
AFC W’don Shrewsbury 0-1 10% 30% 42%
Barnsley Southend 2-1 8% 52% 22%
Blackpool Bristol R 1-0 18% 49% 24%
Bradford Portsmouth 0-1 10% 26% 47%
Charlton Doncaster 1-0 10% 44% 28%
Coventry Accrington 1-0 7% 40% 31%
Gillingham Fleetwood 2-2 7% 33% 38%
Plymouth Sunderland 1-2 4% 29% 43%
Rochdale Luton 2-2 6% 35% 36%
Scunthorpe Oxford 4-1 5% 39% 32%
Walsall Burton 2-1 7% 40% 32%
Wycombe Peterboro 1-1 11% 33% 38%

The two most exciting teams to follow in football league history are in League Two: Notts County and Grimsby Town have both been promoted or relegated 29 times in their histories. Both look more likely to be fighting off relegation than challenging for promotion this season, and this weekend’s fixtures look set to help neither team much; Grimsby to lose 1-0 at Cambridge (9%), and Notts County to lose 2-1 at Port Vale (3%).

Forecast Win (%)
League Two Score PR(%) P(H) P(A)
Cambridge Grimsby 1-0 9% 41% 30%
Carlisle Newport 2-0 12% 42% 29%
Cheltenham Mansfield 0-1 12% 25% 47%
Colchester Swindon 1-0 8% 49% 24%
Crawley MK Dons 0-1 13% 30% 42%
Lincoln Forest Green 2-0 14% 45% 27%
Macclesfield Bury 0-1 15% 27% 45%
Morecambe Yeovil 0-1 13% 28% 44%
N’hampton Crewe 1-0 2% 40% 31%
Port Vale Notts Co 2-1 3% 48% 25%
Stevenage Oldham 0-0 22% 38% 33%
Tranmere Exeter 1-1 11% 38% 33%

Lower Leagues, update

Tonight, Crewe take on Mansfield in another match rescheduled due to international commitments of the Mansfield players. Back when it was due to be played, we forecast Mansfield to win 1-0.

Updating the dataset to the present day yields a new forecast, namely a goalless draw.  See the table below; the expected number of goals for Crewe was sufficiently low (0.06), and Mansfield’s not sufficiently high (0.72) to generate a 1-1 draw prediction. Although Mansfield are favourites still, at 38% likely to win, our Fuzzy Conditional forecast is for a draw, since Crewe’s probability of winning is sufficiently close, at 33%.

Due to the delays caused by absent minded parenting, this is a nowcast, and indeed a nowcast that is already wrong, as at the time of writing, Mansfield are 2-0 up.

Most Likely Win (%)
Score Pr(%) P(H) P(A)
30-Oct Crewe Mansfield 0-0 31% 33% 38%
8-Sep Crewe Mansfield 0-1 11% 32% 42%