ADO 3 v 2 Heracle Almelo
The expectation for this game was high, in fact, very high. After ADO’s great 2 – 4 win away to Willem II last weekend and the fact that Heracles were having a poor run of results and not scoring many goals, meant that home fans were expecting a win by a clear margin.
Unfortunately the fans did not see a win by a large margin, but what they did see was even better; a display of football that showed drive, passion and purpose by the ADO players from the kick off.
Within the first minute of the game ADO got their first chance. A long ball from defence by Immers found Kubik on the wide left. His run forward created the chance to cross in to the visitors’ penalty box where Verhoek was lurking with intent. Verhoek collected the ball, turned sharply to get a shot in; however, the shot was a weak effort. The early signs were good.
ADO was not the only team up for a full bloodied game of football. Heracles broke forward in the third minute, earning a throw in deep in the ADO half on the left hand side. A long throw by Mark Looms was headed clear by Bosschaart. The ball was played wide again to Looms whose first time cross was met strongly by the head of Glynor Plet who watched as the ball flew agonisingly wide up the upright. This was turning out to be very entertaining.
The game ebbed and flowed, both teams working themselves forward at every opportunity, only strong defensive organisation by both teams keeping the goal threats to a minimum.
Heracles got the break through goal in the seventeenth minute. Some wonderful cross field passing left to right opened up a gap i the heart of the ADO defence. Martin Vejinovic made the incisive pass to put Everton clean through on goal. Brave keeping by Coutinho knocked the ball away, only to go directly in to the path of Plet who had the easiest of chances to put the ball in to the back of the net, 0-1.
There was not let up in play by either team as the game continued, both teams seeking out openings and stretching the game which was making for great viewing.
In the twenty ninth minute Immers got the ball wide on the left hand side. He drove forward to the by-line to get in a low cross; the ball deflects to Bulykin whose accurate first touch plays the ball in to the path of Immers who hits an vicious unstoppable shot almost through Remko Pasveer in the Heracles goal, stunning equalizer, 1-1.
This football match was becoming a superb spectacle. The noise from the stands was amazing, a near full house appreciating the skill and effort on display from both sides. The tempo of the game just never dropped.
The stadium erupts again in the forty fourth minute. Toornstra gathers the ball deep in his own half and plays a ball out to his right where Ammi is making a move from his own penalty area. A burst of speed allows him time to work some quick passes with Verhoek, the latter whipping in a cross in towards the near post. Bulykin out thinks his marker Birger Maertens and gets across him to thump a header in to the back of the net. A well worked goal by the home team that was greeted by a thunderous roar of approval from the ADO fans, 2-1.
The half time whistle blew and as the teams walked off both was treated to richly deserved applause. During the break the heavens opened and a deluge of rain continued sporadically throughout the second half. This did not ruin the second half, it added to the excitement. For fifteen minutes there was action in and around both penalty areas with both sets of defence coming out on top. That was until the sixty sixth minute when Immers first half beauty was eclipsed by a Heracles equalizer.
Everton gained possession of the ball wide on the left. There was no apparent danger as he took time to look for some passing options. Then bang, a stunning strike from 28m out that sent the ball flashing passed Coutinho and hit the underside of the bar on its way to hitting the back of the net. A truly spectacular goal that had most of the home fans also clapping in begrudging appreciation, 2-2.
Some powerful running by Kubik in the seventieth minute earned ADO a corner on the left. The kick taken by Verhoek was fired in towards the near post. Despite having two defenders around him and a goalkeeper bearing down on him; Bulykin got his body across the front of all of them and headed what would prove to be the winning goal in to the net. As he celebrated his goal he vanished from site beneath a pile of joyous team mates, 3-2.
In the final twenty minutes, plus four of injury team, Heracles battled forward trying hard to get back on even terms. This is the big difference between this ADO team and the teams from the previous two seasons. Were as they have capitulated and lost games in the final minutes under such pressure, this team are staying strong. They seem fitter and more ready for the fight. The credit for this must go to the new manager this season; John van den Brom has instilled such a work ethic and team bond that make them unrecognisable from the previous years.
The final whistle blew and you would have thought ADO had beaten Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV all rolled in to one. The team did a lap of honour to the sound of “Liberte” thumping through the stadium speakers followed by “You’ll never walk alone.” I think that the players now believe in themselves and after games like this one you can see their team spirit visibly growing.
Finally, I hope those of you I met at the “Feel at home in The Hague” last Sunday and said you were going went. If you did go, I am quite sure that after entertainment and atmosphere like that, you will be going back again and again. Please e-mail me at e-mail listed below letting me know what your experience was like. Be interested to hear from you, as would ADO Den Haag themselves who are keen to raise the club profile within the expat community.
ADO man of the match: Dmitry Bulykin, a powerhouse performance. Ran the Heracles defence ragged.
Attendance: 14, 120