On Friday evening ADO ladies faced Ajax in the first of eight games in the play-off series. The game was like the atmosphere, mostly dead. This was very unusual for the ADO crowd to be so quiet, not that the game offered up much in the way of goal mouth thrills to get people excited.
The game was a tactical battle from the start, both sides cancelling each other out with ease. As the minuted ticked by ADO began to force the game more into the visitors half. Once again it was the talented Victoria Pelova who was at the creative heart of most that ADO did. She unlocked the Ajax defence with some great dribbling with the ball close to her feet. She took some tough tackles and earned a lot of free kicks. The strikes on goal were off target mostly and crosses were being over hit.
At one point when ADO did break clear, it looked as though Lindsey Keizerweerd was clear on goal with only the keeper to beat. Just before her final run in on goal, the referee pulled the play back for a free kick to ADO? What happened to playing the advantage? Jessie van Leeuwen took the free kick, her aim just slightly off target as the ball struck the bar.
The second half saw Ajax more on the attack. They opened up the field, creating space for their forwards. Their chances started to come and after a quiet first forty five minutes for keeper Jennifer Vreugdenhil, she was kept on her saves, making some good blocks.
No side looked like making any kind of breakthrough until the sixty first minute. Marjolijn van den Bighelaar scoring with a goal from a cross into the area, burying the ball into the corner of the net, 0-1. Ajax pushed forward again and for a few minutes ADO looked in trouble. Captain Hélène Heemskerk and Yvette van der Veen used their experience to pull ADO tight again.
As the game neared it end, the home side went for Ajax. They pushed forward in numbers and the crosses were worrying to the Ajax defence. Ajax were hanging on, Pelova being the closest to grabbing an equaliser with a shot that just went wide of the post.
At the final whistle ADO looked deflated at the defeat. The evening had been played in a strange atmosphere, not just from the stands, but also on the pitch, it didn’t feel quite right. ADO ladies play at FC Twente next Friday. The next home game is against PSV Eindhoven on Friday 12th May, kick-off 19:30
ADO ladies team: Jennifer Vreugdenhil; Yvette van der Veen (80. Anouk Boshuizen), Hélène Heemskerk ©, Jessie van Leeuwen, Priscilla Mesker; Nadine Noordam (71. Michelle Vrieling), Vesna Veltrop, Victoria Pelova; Nance van der Meer, Marthe van Erk (67. Sharona Tieleman), Lindsey Keizerweerd