A Season in Stats: Part 3 – Who is the better goalkeeper?

A bull... no it's Phil Smith

A position where the players divide opinion around The County Ground like no other. Who is the better goalkeeper? Is it the Town no.1 David Lucas or no.13 Phil Smith?

2009/2010 was a year of domination for David Lucas, Smith could only make 7 league apppearances and was truely the backup.

That’s in contrast to this season as Phil Smith featured in the majority of games, making 26 starts compared to Lucas’ 20, mostly due to Lucas suffering a back injury, but also because the goalkeeper position like all of the Town team has suffered from managerial indecision and tinkering.

Fortunately as both have played a fair share of the season each the statistics collated on them both provides a fair assessment of their ability.

Oh…and before anyone asks, these stats to take into account the Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday games when the starting keeper was substituted, so Lucas has made 21 appearances to Smith’s 27.

Contribution to result: 

Keeper Apps Won Drawn Lost Points Won P/G
Lucas 20(>1) 4 (19%) 7 (33%) 10 (48%) 0.90
Smith 26(>1) 6 (22%) 7 (26%) 14 (52%) 0.93

Very little difference between the two keepers in their overall contribution to the match result. Phil Smith made a marginally better contribution to points won per game this season, however Smith still contributed more to a losing side.

Goals conceded:

Keeper Minutes Played Conceded Con P/G Mins per conceding Clean Sheets Clean Sheets P/G
Lucas 1718 32 1.52 53.69 4 5.25
Smith 2422 40 1.48 60.55 5 5.4

Phil Smith wins this round, again marginally, with less goals conceded per game, keeping the ball out of the net for an additional 7 minutes per opposition goal and has a better likelihood of keeping a clean sheet.

Shots faced and saved:

Keeper Shots on target Faced Shots OT Faced  P/G Mins per shots OT Faced  Shots Saved Shots Saved % Shots Saved P/G Mins per shot saved 
Lucas 95 4.52 18.08 63 66% 3 27.27
Smith 114 4.22 21.25 74 65% 2.7 32.73

David Lucas has faced more shots (defined as opponent shots on target) at a rate of every 18.08 minutes, compared to every 21.25 minutes for Smith. This could be because Smith organises his defence better to close down the opposition attacks. When faced with a shot on target Lucas is more likely to save, achieving an average of 3 shots saved per game compared to Smith’s 2.7, also reflected in the minutes per shot saved.

Conclusion:

Does Lucas catch the ball...?

The contribution of each keeper to match results is very marginal, Smith will go for longer without conceding, however Lucas performed better in terms of the overall number of shots on target he has faced and saved.

The closeness between the two in nearly all statistics highlights why we’ve had no outstanding no.1 goalkeeper all season who deserves an unbroken run in the side. No wonder the managers have tinkered and given both their fair share of opportunities to impress.

So who is the better keeper?…Perhaps Phil Smith may just nudge it judging by these statistics, however he still doesn’t fill me with confidence, although come to think about it… do either of them? It’s a shame both have contracts for 2011/2012 as a new senior face could do wonders for our rebuilding towards a promotion at the first attempt.

A Season in Stats:

Part 1 – Relegation

Part 2 – Slow out of the blocks

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