Midday on Sunday saw a huge relegation battle in the Kyocera stadium as ADO Den Haag took on Heracles Almelo. The crowd were up for it and the players looked up for it. There was a nervous tension palpable in the air. The sad news was that the nerves showed and ADO looked half the team they were just a few weeks ago, eventually losing this game 1-3, three points dropped at home was a terrible result.
ADO looked to have started brilliantly, as in the second minute Dion Malone played a great ball to Wilson Eduardo, the ball hit the back of the net. The joy soon turned to anger as referee Danny Makkelie said it was offside. Last time Makkelie officiated at a game in the Kyocera, he issued a record 13 yellow cards and a red, so this decision instantly got the fans on his back.
After the early scare Heracles got their game together and began to look threatening. In the fourth minute they took the lead. A corner taken by Mark-Jan Fledderus was met powerfully by the head of Wout Weghorst who had run across the front of two ADO defenders, the ball was almost blocked on the line, but it counted, 0-1.
Thirty seconds after the goal they almost doubled their lead. A long range effort by Denni Avdic forced Martin Hansen to make a flying save to turn the ball away.
Ten minutes plated and ADO worked the ball forward well. Kramer escaped his marker inside the area but was forced wide, the ADO forward pulled the ball back across the goal, Malone and Roland Alberg combined well, Alberg getting a shot off toward top corner of the goal, only for Heracles keeper Bram Castro to claw the ball away.
As the game progressed, chances opened up for both sides, if only the finishing was better it would have been a goal festival, but the opportunities were wasted.
The home crowd finally got the goal they craved in the forty second minute. Thomas Kristensen released Aaron Meijers down the left wing, at high speed he got his cross into the box, Castro dived to punch the ball clear, but he misjudged it and the ball dropped nicely for Mike van Duinen to knock the ball into an empty net, 1-1.
The second half saw ADO basically fall apart. Easy passes were being misplaced, crosses were going woefully high and wide, they lost all their cohesion, it was strange to watch as Heracles took over with some impressive long rang shooting.
First in the fifty fourth minute Brahim Darri was out wide left, from distance he curled a beautiful long range effort over Hansen before hitting the post, the ball fell dead centre of the penalty area, no defenders close by and was the easiest of tap ins for Avdic, 1-2.
After sixty one minutes Eduardo forced Castro in a good save, but within minutes of almost getting level the visitors broke free again. Again Darri got the ball out wide, and it was almost an exact copy of the second goal. His long range curling shot beat Hansen, this time hit the cross bar before falling for Ilias Bel Hassani to head the ball home. 1-3.
In the final Haagse Kwartiertje the home side picked up the game and went at Heracles. ADO should have been awarded a penalty after van Duinen’s shot was blocked by an elbow. Then Kramer battles inside the area before crashing a shot against the post. It could have got worse as Heracles again hit the woodwork, only this time the rebound fell kindly for ADO.
At the final whistle the ADO players looked drained, knowing that was a game they needed to win. However, ADO like to make things difficult for themselves at the best of times. Next up are two away games. Next weekend Ajax away and then away to Excelsior.
ADO man of the Match: Mike van Duinen, a real hard working performance.