IT IS no secret that Burton Albion have struggled for goals this season – but statistics show that it is not through a lack of trying.
Last campaign, Brewers fans were treated to some thrilling matches, and watched their side rack up 71 goals – the third highest in the division – as they reached the League Two play-offs.
Scoring 71 goals over 46 games gave them an average of 1.65 goals per game, a total they have not managed to reach in 2013/14.
This season, they have scored 34 goals, some way off prolific league leaders Chesterfield, who have found the net 51 times.
Albion currently average 1.13 goals per game, but it would be unfair to say they have become a more conservative – or even worse, boring – side.
Anyone who has watched them enough this season will know that they create plenty of chances, and certainly do not lack in attacking intent.
In fact, they have generally launched more attacks in games this season, and have averaged 12.53 shots per game, compared to 11.74 last year.
That average of 12.53 is second only to Fleetwood Town (13.2) as League Two’s most threatening side.
However, while they have not had any problems mustering shots, only 37 per cent of them have been on target, and only 25 per cent of those have resulted in goals.
Saturday’s game against Dagenham & Redbridge was the perfect case in point.
Burton had 13 shots in the game – pretty much average for the season – but yet only three of those were on target, and only one resulted in a goal.
The Daggers, meanwhile, managed just five shots all game, yet they also had three on target, and scored the same number of goals.
Looking at the season as a whole, of the 376 shots Albion have had in their 30 games, just 136 have been on target, with only three teams being more profligate.
Additionally, of those 136 shots on target, only 34 have resulted in goals, meaning Albion must have an average of 11 shots to score.
Last season, Gary Rowett’s men ended the season having seen 251 of their 540 shots find the target (46 per cent), and 28 per cent of those resulted in goals.
Of course, there are two sides to football – attack and defence – and the Brewers have certainly shored things up in the latter respect.
They have conceded 28 goals in 30 games, which gives them the third best record in League Two (second best away from home) – whereas last season they had the fifth-worst defensive record.
Last season, of course, they had Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma, who scored 26 league goals between them.
The players who (at the start of the season at least) looked to have been brought in to replace them – Chris Hussey and Rene Howe – have found the net just three times in the league.
What do all these numbers mean?
Perhaps not a lot, but perhaps they show a trend towards a more consistent Albion team.
Last season, they scored plenty, but conceded too many.
They have solved the defensive problems, and the stats suggest that they have not dulled their attacking threat.
The only thing that has waned is their ruthlessness, but having signed four new strikers this season, it may just take time for a natural partnership to settle and grow.
And at the end of the season, only one number will matter – and that is the Brewers’ final league standing.