Sunday, 27 January 2019

Belper Town a Tad Unlucky But Grafting Brewers Hold On



Hopperational Details
Date & Venue
Saturday 26 January 2019 at the i2i Stadium, Ings Lane
Result
Tadcaster Albion 2 Belper Town 1
Competition
Northern Premier League Division One East (Step 4)
Hopstats
Ground 676 on the lifetime list.  I am here randomishly today because (takes deep breath) this is my closest unvisited Step 4 ground to Varberg on the west coast of Sweden, which is the birthplace of Niclas Eliasson of Bristol City, who was the scorer of the final (and winning) goal in last night’s FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers.  It is highly unlikely that this sentence has ever been written before in the English language, even by an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters.  It probably won’t be needed again.  All the evidence is in the preceding blogpost or on my Twitter timeline.  The former has the calculations and the formula should any other groundhoppers wish to adopt randomishness in their travels.
Context
5th v 9th. Tadcaster are sitting in a playoff position and Belper are only three points behind, albeit having played two games more.  The home side are not in great form, with two draws following two losses in their last four league games after a long unbeaten run.  Tadcaster won the reverse fixture 3-1 away back in November.  Belper are also without a win in three, their last win being a thumping victory at Gresley on New Year’s Day.
In one sentence
The ground’s crossbars helped Tadcaster secure this hard-fought victory, backing up their decisive goals which came very early in each half.



So what?
Tadcaster stay 5th, Belper drop to 11th.
Match Report
My pre-match pie and peas came from a serving hatch with a prominent bowl of bananas and apples up front.  I commented that it is rare to see these options at football, and was told they were popular with the players.  This led on to a discussion about the emergence of “pickle juice” in the sporting world as a cramp reliever, but these northern caterers reckon that bone broth is the business.

After just two minutes, Tadcaster took the lead at the other end from me with what looked like a straightforward header from a right-wing free-kick.  The club’s Twitter feed confirmed that Billy Whitehouse indeed delivered for Harry Coates to score.  Belper could have levelled immediately as Piteu Crouz swivelled in the box but shot just over the bar.

The game developed as a predominantly physical and aerial battle with little between the sides.  Belper’s next chance came on 20 minutes when they hit the bar from the second corner forced in quick succession. Their aerial threat was often reinforced by the arrival of the centre-backs, which of course left them somewhat vulnerable to a break.  The equaliser proved elusive.  Home keeper James Hodges was unable to fully control a difficult backpass, itself forced by Belper pressing, but he recovered easily enough to clear as the ball trickled towards the line.

The teams continued to trade half-chances.  It was tough rather than pretty.  Tadcaster wasted some opportunities of their own, but the half-time whistle arrived with the score still at 1-0.

With the perfection of hindsight, the fact that the second goal came so early after the restart was crucial.  I had wandered to the other end, so once again I needed Twitter to confirm the scorer but the club was equally in the dark.  It had seemed to be a surprise goal from a left-wing corner so either it went straight in or it was an accidental or flukey flick. The record books are now showing Aiden Savory as the scorer.

The Belper response was again immediate.  A penalty appeal was turned down when the ball flicked accidentally from boot to hand.  There were plenty of crunching tackles and the odd yellow card being shown too.  The visitors were, not unreasonably, sensing that at least a draw could still be salvaged.  Tadcaster held on while perhaps being pushed into defending deeper.  There were some heroic and brutal blocks in and around the box.  On 72 minutes, Crouz hit the bar with an excellent freekick.  Then Belper centre-back Isaac Assenso, again up with the attack, found himself in a right-wing position.  He delivered a superb curling cross, only for the crossbar to intervene again as the ball pinged around in the Tadcaster area.  It was not their day.

As the rain arrived, Crouz eventually did get on the scoresheet for a consolation goal in stoppage time.  It had been a compelling contest for the passing neutral and I will look forward to a trip to Belper sometime in the next few months.

Pix
Tadcaster in yellow-and-blue.  Tidy ground with plenty of banners, a decent surface and good clubhouse, tucked away behind the iconic John Smith’s brewery, and hence the interesting background architecture.






















Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
New this season – a pre-match prediction on Twitter based only on keeper top colours as a preliminary test of the data.  Proper statistical significance test to follow in due course.

Green v Green today so a draw was predicted.  Neither keeper kept a clean sheet so the PPG for Green has reduced slightly, but not enough to affect any of the positions of these colours, based now on 177 games.



Pre-match Prediction based on Keeper Top Colour:
Prediction:
Draw
Was the prediction correct?
No
% of correct predictions so far
63% (20 of 32)

Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Blue
44.1
19.0
7.0
18.1
68.0
14.0
66.0
1.497
Grey
49.5
23.0
11.0
15.5
80.5
14.0
69.5
1.404
Green
94.0
50.0
11.0
33.0
154.0
23.0
122.0
1.298
Fire Cracker
3.0
1.0
0.0
2.0
6.0
1.0
2.0
0.667
Maroon
5.0
2.0
1.0
2.0
9.0
1.0
3.0
0.600
Purple
21.0
8.0
4.0
9.0
45.0
5.0
8.0
0.381
Orange
45.5
15.0
8.0
22.5
84.5
7.0
3.5
0.077
Radioactive Bile
21.0
9.0
0.0
12.0
45.0
3.0
-3.0
-0.143
Yellow
35.0
9.0
7.0
19.0
77.0
5.0
-18.0
-0.514
Pink
18.0
5.0
5.0
8.0
37.0
1.0
-12.0
-0.667
Black
6.0
2.0
3.0
1.0
15.0
0.0
-6.0
-1.000
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105


What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter!  29 Step 4 grounds left to do and I hope to be on the road again next Saturday.


Friday, 25 January 2019

A Fresh Angle on Groundhop Planning


As regular readers will know (hello, both of you!) I am working my way randomishly through 30 remaining unvisited Step 4 grounds on my list.  Most of them are a fair distance away from Yapp Acres.

Tomorrow’s journey will be geographically decided by events at Ashton Gate tonight.  Bristol City host Bolton Wanderers in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.

I will go to the ground that is nearest the place of birth of the scorer of the last goal in this game.

The thirteen far-flung possibilities are:

Blackfield & Langley
Brighouse Town
Carlton Town
Cinderford Town
Clitheroe
Melksham Town
Pontefract Collieries
Ramsbottom United
Sevenoaks Town
Slimbridge
Street
Tadcaster Albion
Whyteleafe

If the scorer is UK-born, then Google Maps is my friend and I will take the shortest practicable distance by foot.

If the scorer was born overseas, then the formula below will be used to calculate the central angle of the arc of a “great circle” connecting the two places concerned, P & Q on the diagram.  This will assume that the Earth is a perfect sphere, which isn’t true, but it is close enough for this purpose.  A great circle is always the shortest distance between two points on the surface of a sphere.  The equator is an example – the shortest distance between two points on the equator is always along the equator.  The route is not always a straight line on a conventional map, because of the distortions caused by projecting a curved surface onto paper.  Fascinating stuff, I am sure you’ll agree, and no, I don't need to get out more, thank you.



The length of the arc is directly proportional to the angle, so the smallest angle will be what I am looking for.  The actual distance would be the angle (in radians) multiplied by the radius of the earth.

The formula is:



where Δσ is the central angle we need and Φ and λ are the conventional latitude and longitude for places 1 & 2 measured from the reference points of the equator and Greenwich meridian respectively.  Bear with me, you’ll need all this stuff when you are plotting your private-helicopter groundhopping routes on the back of your promised post-Brexit prosperity.  This blog keeps you ahead of the game either way, because if post-Brexit prosperity turns out to be a dud you can place your bets based on #keepertopcolourstats and hope for the best.  If this happens I will cover home brewing and distillation techniques in a future post.


Small Print: if it is 0-0 then I will go by the place of residence of the match referee as published by the FA.  Own goals also count, based on the place of birth of the own-goalscorer!  Why haven’t I chosen Arsenal v Manchester United?  Well, that lot get enough attention anyway, the bunch of overpaid prima donnas.



Diagram credit:
Author CheCheDaWaff, Own Work, 30 April 2016 and this file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence.

Formula credit:


UPDATE:

Mark Beevers (b Barnsley) gave Bolton a short-lived lead before Callum O'Dowda equalised.  Callum is from Kidlington near Oxford and this would have sent me (narrowly) to Slimbridge, just two miles closer than Melksham Town.  However, Niclas Eliasson stepped up with a spectacular winning goal as early as the 30th minute.

As the game neared its conclusion with Bolton still trailing, I checked the birthplace of their goalkeeper Remi Matthews in case there was a classic FA Cup ending to come.  He was born in Gorleston-on-Sea on the east coast and could have sent me to Carlton or Sevenoaks. 

Niclas Eliasson hails from one of the Varbergs in Sweden and fellow groundhopper Laurence Reade helped to confirm that I needed to measure from the settlement on the west coast rather than the eastern village or the Stockholm suburb.  Tadcaster looked the most likely, but with the curvature of the earth to take into account, I have also looked at Carlton (near Nottingham) and Sevenoaks as a check.

Here are the parameters from Excel.  The longitudes and latitudes have been taken from Wikipedia and converted to decimal format.  The angles in degrees are converted to radians before taking the sines and cosines and working out the key angle, delta sigma.  Care is needed over calculating the longitudinal difference because some of the grounds are east of the Greenwich meridian whereas others are to the west.  The SMALLEST delta sigma means the shortest great circle distance across the earth's surface, and Tadcaster Albion wins by about 0.006 of a radian.  Thanks for all the interest!


Place
Lat

Varberg
57.116667

Tadcaster
53.855200



Place
Long
Varberg
12.216667
E
Tadcaster
1.262000
W


sin phi1
0.839778

sin phi2
0.807529

cos phi1
0.542930

cos phi2
0.589828



delta lambda
13.478667

cos delta lambda
0.972457



delta sigma
0.144625

Place
Lat

Varberg
57.116667

Sevenoaks
51.278100



Place
Long

Varberg
12.216667
E
Sevenoaks
0.187400
E


sin phi1
0.839778

sin phi2
0.780191

cos phi1
0.542930

cos phi2
0.625541



delta lambda
12.029267

cos delta lambda
0.978041



delta sigma
0.159198

Place
Lat

Varberg
57.116667

Carlton Town
52.966944



Place
Long

Varberg
12.216667
E
Carlton Town
1.087778
W


sin phi1
0.839778

sin phi2
0.798288

cos phi1
0.542930

cos phi2
0.602276



delta lambda
13.304444

cos delta lambda
0.973161



delta sigma
0.151126