ADO 0 v 1 Ajax
What a week of turmoil at ADO! After a run of poor results, despite decent performances, a decision was made that saw Raymond Atteveld leave his position as club manager. There had been rumblings from inside the club that there were players who had turned against him and wanted him out. Along with the factions within the club; ADO supporters turned on the manager too. It was first decided that Atteveld would see out the rest of the season. However, on hearing this, ADO’s hardcore of fans threatened to disrupt the teams training in Zuiderpark and also disrupt the match against Ajax in protest. The directors obviously became concerned as did the local police, who were now turning up to watch over the teams training. Eventually it was decided that Raymond Atteveld should leave his position with immediate effect.
A former ADO hero has now become the technical director in charge of first team affairs. Lex Schoenmaker has a long history with the club as former manager and player and is a choice welcomed by all at ADO. His two coaches Maurice Steijn and Bob Kootwijk will be working under his direction. He has always kept close ties with ADO and recently was the ambassador to the ADO women’s team.
The stadium outside was wet, grey and miserable, but the atmosphere inside was electric. The colour, noise and overwhelming expectation greeted the players as they entered the arena. The new team in charge was given a huge roar of approval as they took their places in the dug out. I could imagine just how much better and louder it all would have been if Ajax supporters would have been allowed to attend. But due to the unsavoury rivalry they are not allowed to visit the ground.
Well from a turbulent week off the pitch to a traumatic 97 minutes on it.
The first half hour of the match was basically a non event. The only thing of note was that many players from both teams where going for an Oscar nomination for diving theatrics, some of which were truly laughable.
Just on the half hour the first goal scoring opportunity arose. A throw in from the left was chested down by Luijckx who then quickly laid the ball off to his left. Ajax defenders stood still claiming it was a handball. Derijck ignored the complaints and moved in on goal. It looked a simple a chance, but some how the ball got lost between his feet and the chance went begging. A clear chance wasted.
ADO was again the team to threaten on thirty eight minutes. A nice move between v/d Berg and Toornstra saw a perfectly weighted pass cut across the Ajax area, Soltani was totally in the clear but mistimed his run and a simple tap in to an empty net was missed as the ball bobbled between his feet with no Ajax player within two metres of him. The sigh of the crowd was audible as was their frustration.
The half time whistle blew and realistically speaking, ADO could have gone in with a two goal lead, which would have been deserved and would not have been a fluke.
Sixty minutes in and Zwinkels is in a collision with Ajax’s Suarez; Brave keeping down at the forwards feet leaving the keeper in agony holding his elbow. The game was halted for three minutes as he received treatment. He remained in goal for the resulting corner. He caught the ball safely, cleared it then fell to his knees. On 63 minutes he was replaced by the substitute keeper Barry Ditewig.
Sixty six minutes and ADO were starting to play some real free flowing football. A move down the right between Toornstra, Verhoek and Ammi saw Toornstra receiving a pass from a move he originally started. His cross was low in to the Ajax area and Immers was first to react. He turned quickly and got in a shot that was brilliantly saved by Holland’s National team keeper Maarten Stekelenburg,
The game began to pick up pace as Ajax, the team chasing top spot in the Eredivisie realised a win was all that mattered, anything less would basically offer FC Twente then title on a platter. Ajax produced some neat intricate play that put Siem de Jong in on goal. His shot was well parried by Ditewig, unfortunately the ball bounced out to Luis Suarez who instantly hit a rifling shot towards goal, amazingly Ditewig managed to get himself up and across to block Suarez’s drive and the ball went to safety. Ajax’s best chance so far.
In the seventy sixth minute ADO were reduced to ten players as Ditewig got a straight card for a scuffle in which he was the aggressor on Demy de Zeeuw. De Zeeuw made a meal of the challenge by Ditewig; despite protesting his innocence, his pleas fell on deaf ears. You simply can not raise your hands to opponent, so he had to go. A soft dismissal, one of which the ADO management will not be best pleased with. Other players from both teams then over reacted and a few groups got involved in some pushing and showing and it threatened at one point to boil over. There seemed to be a lot of heated discussion as to who would take over in goal. To my amazement it was v/d Bergh, one of, if not the smallest players on the pitch.
Eighty eight minutes and Ajax almost took the lead. From a corner, a shot from Alderweireld headed goalwards. Only a superb goal line clearance by Toornstra; who managed to hook the ball away prevented the goal. Ajax players screamed it was across the line, thankfully for ADO both the referee and lineman thought differently.
Just before the ninety minutes were up, the fourth official held aloft the board indicating that there were to be seven extra minutes of stoppage time. The boos echoed around the stadium from the home support. This was also an indication to Ajax that if they were to be still in with a shout for the title, they had to push on, and so they did.
Wave after wave of red and white attacks began to hit the ADO defence, but they held firm. Then on ninety three minutes ADO’s hearts and resolve was broken. A corner on the left taken by Cristian Erikson was floated in to the danger area. Rommedahl hit his first time shot goalwards, only to be volleyed clear by Immers. The danger was far from over as the ball came out to Toby Alderweireld, he struck his shot from twenty metres out and it flew across the goal in to the top left hand corner, leaving v/d Bergh helplessly looking on. The reaction of the Ajax players told its own story, they knew they needed the three points and that is what they got.
The final whistle blew and as the Ajax team and management celebrated, the forlorn, sad face of v/d Bergh was a pitiful sight. It looked as though he was blaming himself for the defeat. He was certainly being far too harsh on himself as he had put in a great performance in goal.
In the press conference after the game; Ajax manager Martin Jol had nothing but praise for the ADO team. Saying how hard they fought and worked for each other. Maurice Steijn took the questions on behalf of ADO and he looked a bit shell shocked. Several times mentioning what a turbulent week it had been for the club. He says he saw the spirit he wanted from the players.
A great game, but again, if only ADO could have taken their chances they would have been two goals up before Ajax scored. As all season, it has been the lack of a top class forward that has cursed them again. With only four games now remaining, it is looking like a tough fight to stay in the Eredivisie. Hopefully they will not fall any lower and will have at least the chance to battle it out in the dreaded play offs.
ADO man of the match: Ricky v/d Bergh. Deserved a medal, covered every blade of grass and then covered in goal superbly well.
Attendance: 13, 921