Bolton Wanderers improve goals-per-shots ratio under Dougie Freedman
WANDERERS manager Dougie Freedman knows all about the importance of scoring goals as a former striker himself.
Clean sheets are the base to build on but goals win you games.
And while the forward line is yet to move up the gears this campaign, the statistics show the Whites’ conversion rate has improved under Freedman’s reign.
While the defence suffered criticism from some quarters of the support after a 3-0 defeat at high-flying Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the meticulous Freedman will also be noting the lack of goals at the other end so far in the Championship campaign.
In their three league outings to date, Wanderers have netted just twice with both goals coming from midfielder Darren Pratley.
It was a similar story last campaign with Chris Eagles ending the season as top scorer with 12 goals and front men David Ngog and Marvin Sordell lagging behind on eight apiece in all competitions.
It is something Freedman has tried to address ahead of his first full season at the helm – the addition of his former Leeds striker partner Jermaine Beckford is testament to that as a proven goalscorer, particularly at lower league level.
Kevin Davies was released and Marvin Sordell allowed to join Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan as Freedman looked to inject freshness into his attack after previously signing Craig Davies in January.
Craig Davies has a league scoring record of just better than a goal every four games, while young striker Tom Eaves scored one in three while out on loan at Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury last season.
David Ngog’s record is one in six while Beckford is the only one with a league ratio better than Freedman’s in his playing days.
Beckford nets once every two-and-a-half games while Freedman’s league record was just better than one in three.
But whoever gets the nod in the boss’s attack, be it one up front or a two-pronged strike partnership, Freedman will want to see continued improvement in the conversion rate as the season progresses.
Wanderers have netted five goals in all competitions from 47 shots on goal this season – a conversion rate of 11 per cent.
But just 32 per cent of those attempts have been on target, lower than their usual average.
In all last season, 56 per cent of the 597 Whites shots were on target and they scored 76 goals, meaning they tucked away 13 per cent of all the efforts.
That is also the percentage when you base it on the calendar year of 2013, which includes the impressive second half of last season under Freedman, pictured.
Since the New Year’s Day defeat at Leeds United, Wanderers have found the net 41 times from just over 300 attempts on goal, which is again a conversion rate of 13 per cent.
Almost half of those efforts were on target (149). The better second half of the first Championship campaign for a decade last season also impacted on the ratio after the change of boss.
At the start of the campaign under another former striker in Owen Coyle, the Whites scored just 14 goals in 11 matches from 139 shots on goal – a ratio of around just one goal for every 10 shots, which is less than the current rate after four matches.
After three matches overseen by Jimmy Phillips, Sammy Lee and Julian Darby in between the change at the helm, the Whites scored six goals in three matches from 26 shots on target and 44 in total. Freedman arrived and the rate rose to 13 per cent in the remainder of the season.
Wanderers scored 61 goals from 459 shots, of which 58 per cent were on target (268).
The Scot has also seen the scoring ratio rise away from home under his stewardship as the Whites convert more chances on the road.
In the entire 2012/13 campaign, the team scored 36 goals away from home from 263 efforts of which 58 per cent were on target – a conversion of 14 per cent.
Under Freedman, that percentage has risen to 16 with 62 per cent of the 194 shots away from the Reebok Stadium on target and 31 goals scored.
On home turf, 11 per cent have been scored from 265 attempts – a total of 30 home goals in league and cup.
It works out at one-and-a-half goals per game on home soil so far.
Freedman will hope that improves again on Saturday when his side are back at the Reebok to take on QPR in front of the Sky TV cameras.
And if his strikers can get in on the act, it will be an added bonus.