A win or a draw against Venlo meant ADO would be 100% safe from relegation play-offs. A loss would mean squeaky bum time for the remaining two fixtures, one of which is away to PSV Eindhoven.
The scene was set for a tense night as both teams were desperate to get three vital points, how would they go about getting them? Playing it coy and defensive on the counter attack, or would both teams go for glory and go on the full attack from the first whistle?
From the kick-off it was soon obvious who wanted this more, Venlo starting at a high rate and never looked like slowing during the first forty-five minutes. They kept hitting ADO down the wings time after time, thankfully Horvath, Omeruo, Ammi and Supusepa had the speed to try to close them down; although Michael Uchebo was proving to be a nightmare to handle.
Chery pushes forward
Venlo took an early lead in the fifth minute. A ball in from the right side evaded the ADO defence, Coutinho almost gathered the ball but a superb challenge by Danny Holla saw the ball run free giving Barry Maguire the easiest tap in goal, 1-0.
In the fifteenth minute Omeruo was awarded a yellow card after blatantly blocking the run of Bryan Linssen.
Sixteen minutes in and ADO were awarded a free kick just outside the area. Toornstra floated the ball in, Omeruo had plenty of space, but could not get any power on the ball to beat Dennis Gentenaar in the Venlo goal.
ADO got a corner in the twentieth minute. Chery swung the ball in from the right. Omeruo burst through two defenders and stooped low to head the ball into the back of the net, 1-1.
Omeruo and van Duinen celebrate ADO's goal
Two minutes later and ADO were behind again. A free-kick thirty metres out taken by Holla was aimed towards the penalty spot. Omeruo got to the ball first only succeeding to head the ball past Coutinho into the back of the goal, 2-1.
ADO had the brighter start to the second half and in the fiftieth minute Toornstra’s’ incisive pass found van Duinen, his control in the box was good and only a great save at his feet by Gentenaar prevented ADO getting back to level terms.
Van Duinen thwarted by a great save
Sixty-one minutes on the clock and Venlo were unlucky not to extend their advantage. The two metre tall Uchebo stretched out his long legs towards a ball across the goal line, he missed contact by millimetres.
ADO’s chances of getting a point from the game took a serious blow when Omeruo chased down a lose ball. His effort to get the ball was too late and he fouled Marcel Meeuwis. The referee Jack van Hulten had no other option to show a second yellow card to the defender, followed by the red, in the sixty-eighth minute, ADO down to ten men.
Going down to ten men upped ADO’s urgency and they pushed further forward. Boussaboun who had been brought on earlier looked to power his way through the Venlo players.
Toornstra strkes a free-kick
ADO had one last good chance to get a goal back. A magnificent cross field ball by Immers to Toornstra (had to be the pass of the season) see Toornstra cross the ball into Boussaboun. His shot was hard and true and the Venlo keeper managed to pull off another good save.
The final minutes of the game saw ADO try to push forward more, but Venlo had all there players in defensive positions. Immers gave his best in the final moments, calling for the ball and trying to make that one important break, but it wasn’t to be.
This was a game ADO really needed to win, a single point would have guaranteed Eredivisie survival. Fact was, Venlo were the more hungry for the three points. So now with two games remaining, ADO has a four point cushion, thankfully Venlo has by far the hardest two games. So barring a footballing miracle, ADO should survive, I hope.
ADO Man of the Match: Omeruo; certainly had an eventful match, but he was at the thick of the action until his dismissal.
The next home game is the last game of this season and is to be played on Sunday, 6 May against De Graafschap; kick-off time is at 14:30. A club card is 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