After Wednesday's humiliation at home to AZ Alkmaar how would the ADO team react? It was a question on everyone’s mind as the players warmed up. The travelling support was loud and boisterous as per usual, so the backing was there from the away stand, now would the players respond with a performance to make the fans proud again?
There was a new team captain for this game. The temporary captain, Coutinho; is replaced until the end of the season by Christian Kum.
Well the game was not what you would normally call a football match; it was more like a war, with no prisoners being taken. From the kick-off it was obvious that this was going to be a brutal game, a game full of passion and fight, not for the faint hearted.
The game was tight and FC Utrecht had the first chance on goal. Frank Demouge got a header in on goal, only a magnificent world class reaction save by Coutinho in the ADO goal prevented the home side taking the lead.
In the twelfth minute Toornstra broke up the Utrecht play and combined the play with Verhoek, a shot fired in on goal was saved by the feet of Roberto Fernandez in the Utrecht goal.
The game ebbed and flowed end to end. This was a game you could not take your eyes off. Both sides were highly motivated and keen to get the three points on offer.
ADO fans celebrate the equalizer
Just before the half hour Utrecht got themselves in front. A long ball forward from deep in his own half by Mark van der Maarel was headed on by Alexander Gerndt. Demouge latched onto the ball and then managed to get the ball around the despairing dive of Coutinho to put the ball into the back of the net, a great move and a good finish, 1-0.
The battling for possession continued, neither side taking a backward step from numerous crunching tackles, it certainly got the crowd creating an amazing atmosphere.
Tempers flare during the game
In the forty third minute ADO got back on level terms. Utrecht were at sixes and sevens allowing Toornstra to get a cross into the penalty area. Confusion reigned as Vicento put himself between the keeper and the defence, making a complete nuisance of himself. Vicento’s efforts paid off as the ball fel kindly to the oncoming Immers whose low right footed drive hit the back of the net sending the ADO support wild, 1-1.
Vicento is carried off injured
The second half became a lot more aggressive. Players were not holding back in their challenges and at times it all threatened to boil over. As play continued, ADO players were being crocked left, right and centre; thankfully nothing serious. However both Coutinho and Horvath had to leave the field after receiving knocks, and worse still, Vicento needed to be carried off on a stretcher after a hard but fair fifty-fifty tackle with man mountain Alje Schut.
Smolarek battles for the ball
Lex Immers was playing like a man possessed at times, for fifteen minutes he played like he was last season, full of drive and determination. He feared no challenge and was whole heartedly giving his all for the club. Perhaps having the captaincy taken off him unburdened him and allowed him to think and play more freely? At times I thought that a red card would be shown to him sooner or later, but thankfully he calmed it a buit near the end and remained on the pitch.
At the final whistle the players went to the ADO supporters with their heads held high and received a rapturous reception. If ADO continue to play in this manner, they will certainly win more than they lose. Christians Kum’s first game as captain went really well, long may his leadership continue in this way. All the players seemed to be playing for him and Maurice Steijn certainly looked to be communicating more with the new captain than he did with Immers.
Attendance: 18, 700
ADO man of the match: Immers, despite a lot of criticism of late, today he came out fighting for his team, putting his body on the line at every opportunity for the club.
Next home game is on Saturday, 18 February against Excelsior; kick-off time is at 19:45. A club card is not required for this match. The ticket office is open on Tuesday 13:00 - 18:00, Wednesday and Thursday 12:00 - 18:00 and on Friday between 12:00 - 20:00.
Text & Photos by Neal McClimon