Table 3. Significant factors for headed shots.
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For most significant factors, their importance to shot scoring is self-evident and will not be discussed further. However, the ‘cross’ factor warrants further examination. Whilst the odds of scoring increase when a shot originates from a cross, this does not mean that crosses are the most effective means of penetrating a defence; many fail to meet their target. Principally, a cross changes the angle and area of play more than any other type of preceding event, thus placing greater attentional and decision making demands on defending players. For the defending players, attention has to take account of, and change to, this new area of play. Attention may also need to be directed towards the multiple points at which the ball might be met across the goal. Consequently, defenders and goalkeepers may have less time to organise and pick up cues that help them to anticipate play and there may be more space for shot-takers. For goalkeepers, the situation may also require them to move across the goal so that they have momentum in one direction. Therefore, they may not be well balanced to save in all potential directions. A further development in examining crosses would be to compare cross types. Partridge and Franks (1989, a and b) provided an interesting analysis of this question.