ADO v De Graafschap

 ADO 2 v 2 De Graafschap

Back to the business of league football after the International break. The big question amongst ADO fans before the game was would their team be able to build on their last impressive performance against PSV? On paper and league position it looked like it would be a matter of three points gained for the home team, but would the fact of facing lesser opposition effect how the ADO players would set about their opponents? This would be a chance if the character of the team had changed since last season when form was totally nonsensical, at times playing well against the big teams and then totally flop against the lower teams. This would be indeed a good test of how the management were dealing with the players’ mental attitude.

Well the result reads 2-2, but does not tell the story, a game ADO should have won by two or more goals, the only reason they failed was their ex keeper from last season, Boy Waterman. The Graafschap keeper saved the visitors from a hammering with an outstanding display of goalkeeping using every part of his body to block ADO’s attacks. This was certainly not a case of ADO taking the opposition lightly after the last game. They approached it with purpose and a desire to win handsomely, some days however, it just is not going to happen for you and this was one of them.

ADO started the game and looked in a positive manner. The free flowing football from the home team was working its way through the midfield easily of the visitors but De Graafschap had a well organised and tight defensive unit.

In the eleventh minute, a long free kick in from the right by Verhoek earned the first of two quick successive corners. From the second corner taken by Kubik, De Graafschap failed to deal with the flight of the ball, and despite efforts by Waterman and six other defenders, including three on the goal line itself, Dmitry Bulykin prodded the ball home, 1-0.

For the following twenty minutes both teams pushed forward but could not make that all important final ball count. It was great to watch, even if there was no final result.

De Graafschap had their best chance to draw level on thirty one minutes. A corner in from the left was dropped into the centre of the ADO penalty area. Jan-Paul Saeijs stole in front of Coutinho and his headed effort was goal bound until Ammi got his head on to it and cleared it off the line and over the bar. The resulting corner kick again from the left was hit in to the ADO penalty box with a strong curl, only the strength of Coutinho diving between two players enabled him to stretch out his right arm and punch the ball clear. De Graafschap was on the ascendancy.

The whistle blew for half time, how it remained 1-0 was anybodies guess, there had been plenty of opportunities for both teams to score after ADO had taken the lead. The home fans didn’t care; ADO looked good and seemed to be heading towards three more points.

From the start of the second half it was ADO who dictated the pace and flow of the game, keeping De Graafschap contained mostly in their own half. The visitors did mange to break through ADO’s midfield on fifty seven minutes. Unfortunately for them, they tried to be too intricate with their passing and Rydell Poepon lost possession on the edge of the ADO area. A quick look up and pass by Toornstra split the entire De Graafschap team. Verhoek raced on to the ball and his speed took him and the ball around Waterman in the visitor’s goal. His touch was too heavy and sent the ball wide. It was a simple race, Verhoek got the ball and turned to hit his shot goalwards only to find that Waterman had matched his pace and got back in position to block the shot. The ball rebounded back to Verhoek who tried to work an opening, but again the shot was blocked. The ball fell to the oncoming Toornstra who instead of placing an easy shot in to the back of then net, went for power and blasted the ball over the bar. The players and fans sighed with disbelief and the visitors sighed with a breath of relief.

In the seventy first minute Immers made himself some space and charged down the left wing. His ball inside to Kubik was perfect and as soon as he received the pass he was clattered by Waterman, it would have been a penalty, but the ball came out to Kevin Visser who had the simple task of knocking the ball in to an empty net, 2-0.

It only took De Graafschap two minutes to pull a goal back. A precise long ball from Vito Wormgoor deep inside his own half found Hugo Borgas moving in at speed from the right, two deft touches got him around Coutinho to make his finish simple, a stuning goal, beautiful simplicity, 2-1.

The game continued as throughout, plenty of great play, lots of good movement, but the final pass was going astray, ADO kept looking to finish the game off, but it just wouldn’t happen.

In the eighty seventh minute De Graafschap pushed forward, the moved clicked, passing their way through the ADO midfield. The ball got held up for a moment until Steve de Ridder had a shot on goal, the blocked shot rebounded high and he forced a header towards the penalty spot. Standing still with his back to goal was Hugo Borgas, with great athleticism he executed the perfect over head kick and smashed the ball left footed in to the net passed a helpless Coutinho. Had to be one of the greatest finishes I personally have ever seen, superb.

The final whistle blew and I thought it was so harsh of the home fans to boo the team. They played well and should have easily won, but it just was not to be their day. I thought their approach to the game was dead right and not a lapse that had been seen all too often last season. There are still a few first choice players missing and I truly believe the best from ADO is still to come.

For anybody with any questions about what it is like to visit an ADO Den Haag home game. I will be at the Hagueonline table next Sunday between 1pm and 3pm at the “Feel at home in the Hague” fair. This is at the town hall atrium on Sunday 19th September.

ADO man of the match: Frantisek Kubik, A real battering ram of a performance all over the pitch; Strong, powerful and full of purpose to go along side some great skill.

Attendance: 11, 860

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