The best goalkeeper in the Scottish Championship?

Wes Foderingham, courtesy of RFC

written by – Rangers Report

Throughout the season we have been cataloging a series of statistics to use as an analytic assessment of the goalies in the Scottish Championship.  Beyond goals allowed & save percentage, the core of this data takes a look at how many goals a goalie allows in relation to how many goals they are expected to give up.

Goals minus Expected Goals, first introduced by Bill Renoapplies the difficulty of shots that goalies face in order to see if goalies are allowing more goals than they really should.  We first introduced our application of GmxG back in August & have publicly housed the statistics on our site throughout the season.

For most of the season, Falkirk’s Danny Rogers has had the lowest Goals minus Expected Goals ratio among regular keepers – meaning he was giving up the fewest goals above his Expected Goals against.  However, three straight shutouts in the league  has seen Rangers’ Wes Foderingham ascend to the top of the table.

The standings below are sorted by GmxG per 90 minutes.  It should be noted that Expected Goals against for goalies only take into account shots on target.  Goals against do not include penalties or own goals.

Goalkeeper Team Min GA xGA GMxG GA/90 xGA/90 GMxG/90 Total SOT Total Saves Sv%
Wes Foderingham Rangers 2430 14 7.70 6.31 0.52 0.29 0.23 69 55 0.797
Jim Atkinson Queen of the South 401 3 1.95 1.05 0.67 0.44 0.24 22 19 0.864
Danny Rogers Falkirk 2520 20 12.77 7.23 0.71 0.46 0.26 99 79 0.798
Derek Gaston Morton 1622 18 11.25 6.76 1.00 0.62 0.37 91 73 0.802
Grant Adam Morton 738 7 3.84 3.16 0.85 0.47 0.38 37 30 0.811
Marc McCallum Livingston 1710 18 10.13 7.87 0.95 0.53 0.41 67 49 0.731
Mark Oxley Hibs 2430 23 9.47 13.53 0.85 0.35 0.50 68 45 0.662
Mark Ridgers St. Mirren 180 4 2.92 1.08 2.00 1.46 0.54 12 8 0.667
Jamie Langfield St. Mirren 2250 29 15.09 13.91 1.16 0.60 0.56 120 91 0.758
Keith Cuthbert Raith Rovers 2340 31 15.72 15.28 1.19 0.60 0.59 115 84 0.730
Jamie Ewings Dumbarton 450 6 3.00 3.00 1.20 0.60 0.60 22 16 0.727
Robbie Thomson Queen of the South 1949 24 10.89 13.11 1.11 0.50 0.61 85 61 0.718
Andy McNeil Alloa Athletic/Morton 1215 23 11.63 11.38 1.70 0.86 0.84 72 49 0.681
Scott Gallacher Alloa Athletic 630 15 7.15 7.86 2.14 1.02 1.12 54 39 0.722
Mark Brown Dumbarton 1890 37 11.99 25.02 1.76 0.57 1.19 96 59 0.615
David Crawford Alloa Athletic 675 14 4.95 9.06 1.87 0.66 1.21 36 22 0.611
Darren Jamieson Livingston 810 18 5.55 12.45 2.00 0.62 1.38 48 30 0.625
Jamie McGowan Morton 90 2 0.46 1.54 2.00 0.46 1.54 5 3 0.600
  • Based on the shots on target that Foderingham has faced, the Rangers keeper is expected to allow 0.29 goals per match.  Rangers simply do not give teams very many chances to score.  They allow 2.56 non-penalty shots on target per game (only Hibs allows less:  2.52).  This fact has worked against Foderingham a bit this season.  He simply has had a smaller margin of error.  The leader for most of the season, Danny Rogers, faces an average of 3.54 shots on target per game & his Expected Goals against per 90 minutes is 0.46.
  • Despite that smaller margin of error, Foderingham has been steady throughout the season & his clean sheets have finally caught up to that minute margin of error.  He allows a league best 0.52 goals per game, which is only 0.23 above his Expected Goals against.  Basically, more often than not, he’s make the saves he is expected to make.
  • If you look at the totals, rather than a per 90 average, you’ll see that Foderingham has allowed 14 goals (remember no penalties or own goals are included) & his Expected Goals totals suggest he should have allowed 7.70.  So in 27 games, he has allowed 6.31 more goals then the Expected Goals project.  Among regular goalies (1,000+ minutes) that is the lowest total.  Danny Rogers has allowed 7.23 goals more then expected in 28 matches.  Meanwhile, Dumbarton’s Mark Brown has allowed 25.02 more goals then expected.
  • Why have Hibs slipped in the league table?  Mark Oxley may have been a culprit.  He has the second lowest save percentage among regular goalkeepers & has allowed 13.53 more goals then expected in 27 matches.  His GmxG per 90 minutes is 0.50 (half a goal).  As a team, Hibs have had difficulty finishing the high volume of shots they generate.  They only have the sixth best shooting percentage in the Championship, which has left them susceptible to some closer then expected matches.  They have become more reliant on strong performances from their goalie & lately Oxley has not been up to par, especially given that he faces the fewest shots on target on average then any goalie in the league.
Mark Oxley
  • How important is goalkeeping?  If you’re Livingston – it’s the difference between fighting for a play-off spot for promotion & a play-off spot for relegation.  With Marc McCallum in the lineup this season they have earned 100% of their wins & 83% of their draws.  Of their 24 points, he has been in goal for 23 of them.  They have averaged 1.21 points per game with McCallum, which is more than Morton’s current form of 1.19 points per game.  Morton is six points out of a play-off spot.  Currently, Livingston sit ninth in the league & are mired in a struggle with Dumbarton to avoid the relegation play-offs.  What happens when McCallum, on loan from Dundee United, wasn’t available.  Well, Darren Jamieson happened.  In his nine appearances, he had a save percentage of 0.625.  In McCallum’s 19 games, his save percentage has been 0.731.  That difference translated to Jamieson allowing 1.38 more goals per game then expected compared to McCallum – who has allowed only 0.41 more goals per 90 then expected.  Livingston only managed one draw in Jamieson’s nine starts (0.11 points per game).  If Livi had the same points per game ratio in those matches as they have with McCallum that would equate to a difference of 10.89 points.
  • Has Wes Foderingham had the best season of any goalie in the Championship?  Based on his Goals minus Expected Goals, you would have to say yes.  But like any look at statistics there are underlying numbers that influence the results.  For example, of the saves that Foderingham has been forced to make 36% of them have been High/Very High Danger shots (from the heart of the goal area).  That’s the lowest ratio in the league.  Of the saves that Danny Rogers & Marc McCallum have made, 50% have come from High/Very High Danger shots.  Oxley’s rate is 45%.  Would Foderingham thrive in those conditions?  Would Rogers or McCallum (both on loan from Premiership clubs) match Foderingham’s success if they played behind Rangers?

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

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