ADO 1 v 1 FC Twente
The ADO team saw a few enforced changes for Saturday nights game against FC Twente; the team managed by former England boss Steve McClaren. The night was also an emotional occasion for former ADO star and local boy Wesley Verhoek who returned to the stadium for the first time as an opposition player. The reception the crowd gave him was truly amazing and Wesley was visibly moved.
ADO started the game at a very high tempo, taking the game to Twente from the off. ADO set about the visitors with a purpose I had not witnessed for some time. Twente were not allowed to settle on the ball and pass it around. Every ADO players in every position chased, harried and harassed the men in red every time they had the ball. ADO were in dominant form and the crowd knew it and the volume of support from the stands was superb.
ADO took a deserved lead in the sixth minute. The ball was hit into the area and loose defending allowed the ball to fall to Smolarek just on the edge of the area. His strike was right on the sweet spot and the ball flew into the back of the net. Smolarek making his return to the team after his father’s untimely death burst with emotion. He shrugged of the congratulatory attention of his team mates and ran to Maurice Steijn the ADO manager and they leapt into each others arms, a sign of how much Steijn must have been there to support Ebi during his difficult loss: A touching moment in a crazy atmosphere, 1-0.
The home side kept the pressure on Twente, who were finding ADO very difficult to break down, ADO were defending from the front. The visitors began to get frustrated with there lack of penetration into the ADO danger areas, so much so that even their simple passes were being hit out of play.
As the half-time whistle blew, the stadium erupted and everybody stood, realizing what effort the home players were putting into the game. This was not a game of clear cut chances, but was a war of attrition. Steijn had got his tactics dead right and the second half was to be all about how Twente were going to get back into the game.
The second half began as the first one ended, ADO on top. For the first twenty minutes ADO were in control of Twente, not allowing them any freedom. On the half hour mark signs of tiredness were creeping into the legs of the ADO players and Twente began to exploit the openings.
In the sixty second minute ADO’s resilience was broken. After a few corners in quick succession ADO’s defence dropped their guard and Glynor Plet, who had wasted chances earlier with wild and careless goal attempts, this time found himself in a clear position and an easy finish with 1-1.
Immediately after the goal, ADO had to make two changes as both Vicento and Elbers had run themselves into the ground, an excellent effort. On came Mulders and Verhoek, the fresh legs helped, but the concentration was lost and Twente continued to find space in the search for a winning goal. ADO looked totally deflated and eight minutes later, Smolarek was replaced by Ammi.
The match calmed down for a ten minute period and Twente made a substitution that most ADO fans wanted to see. Wesley Verhoek came on the pitch to replace Leroy Fer. As he came on the field of play ADO supporters cheered him and chanted his name, Wesley stood in the centre circle and applauded the fans who once worshipped him.
The final ten minutes was a tense affair. ADO wanting the three points to get clear of the relegation zone and Twente to stay in touch with the league leaders. Both teams were tired and openings were created, but nothing clear cut.
In the ninety fifth minute, old boy Verhoek almost won it for Twente. The ball fell to him inside the ADO box, on his debut for Twente he was about to sink his former employers, he swivelled and smashed a shot goalwards. Coutinho was beaten but the ball crashed against the post and out of danger.
After the final whistle and lap of honour, all the players went up to and hugged Maurice Steijn. The manager was elated and a huge smile spread across his face, his players had given him the performance he wanted. It was a great team effort, an effort typified by Lex Immers who was the man who kept charging forward from midfield throughout, causing many problems for the Twente players. .
This was a great game for the neutral in the stadium: Brilliant atmosphere, hard working players, a good referee who let the game flow and a result that shocked many.
Attendance: 11, 050
ADO man of the match: Lex Immers, Drove ADO forward at every opportunity.