How important is the half time result to Mark Cooper?

Football is rarely straightforward, however, there’s one statistic this season which highlights how much Mark Cooper’s Swindon Town side thrive on the confidence provided by seizing the early advantage and scoring first. Writes Ron Smith.

The importance of Swindon Town scoring the opening goal in a match has been highlighted previously, however, I’d never previously looked at the record of each League One side when winning, losing and drawing at half time on the final result.

When comparing the records of team results when winning at half time, Swindon Town have secured the fourth highest tally of points and the third highest points per game record. Town have only dropped two points from a winning position at half time – those coming at MK Dons in the 1-1 draw, which is a game we should’ve won for various reasons.

Having a 90% chance of winning when leading at half time is staggering and a particularly useful statistic for those keen on betting ‘in-play’… Town’s record is surpassed by only Brentford – winning 13 from 13 when winning at half time – and Port Vale, although the latter’s record comes from just five incidences.

2014.01.21 L1 HT Record Winning

Compare the effect on the final score when losing at half time, then the complete opposite is true of Town’s record; winning none, drawing once and suffering nine defeats, a 90% chance of defeat. This is one of the poorest returns in League One, however, you will note that the maximum points accumulation of any side is a return of ten points recovered from losing half-time positions. Also, only ten sides have actually won a game after being goals behind at half time, highlighting a recovery is a tough task for all, not just Swindon.

Of those ten games when losing at half time, only one point was salvaged which was the away draw at Bradford City. That point was rescued by a superb solo-effort from Alex Pritchard, the moment of individual brilliance being an apt way to prevent this record reading ten games losing and half time and ten defeats…

2014.01.21 L1 HT Record Losing

When Swindon are drawing at half time, their record is average: winning, drawing and losing two games; highlighting those games are broadly even and the odds of each match outcome are equal.

2014.01.21 L1 HT Record Drawing

Like many of the other sides in League One, Swindon find it difficult to secure anything from the game when not being in a winning position at half time. They’ve a 12.5% chance of winning the game from a losing or drawing position at half time, which has resulted in a points return of 9 out of the 48 available. A 90% success rate when winning is all very impressive and perhaps emphasises the confidence that Cooper’s youthful team seem to thrive on, however what do these statistics show for Cooper’s own impact on the game through his opportunity to input at half time and substitutions..?

What do you believe is the problem? How can Mark Cooper overcome the mental barrier to his side’s performances by gaining more points from losing positions at half time?

Please comment below and we’ll be discussing this issue on our podcast this week…


  • Floyd Chamberlain

    Not enough leaders in the side Ward had not been as impressive as last season and Jay Mcevely is hit and miss with his performances. Think Harley may be the answer particularly away from home that said we do need some steel added to our midfield which I was hoping Ben Gladwin would add. Also the loss of Ajose might be a key reason as he is a match winner.


  • Attacking fullbacks 4. 4. 2 one goes forward another covers two up front IN THE BOX NOT OUT. WIDE NOT OUT WIDE


    • Isn’t the problem with 442 in the center of midfield though? We don’t have physical power there in Kasim or Mass and so reducing a three to a two is surely inviting the opposition to dominate in that area? Also not sure who plays in those wide positions as neither N’Guessan or Pritchard are at their best tracking back.


    • @RyanDavies Not sure entirely what this has to do with Cooper’s ability to influence at HT, are you suggesting that whatever the opposition Town should change to a 442 for the second half?


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