Travelling To- ADO ’20

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ADO ‘20 1

(Rick Neele)

Solomon Islands 0

Attendance:100 (approx. Rough count)

Sportpark de Vlotter

So here it is, the opening game for the Solomon Islands during their tour of the Netherlands. This was a momentous occasion for the national team, who have never played a game in Europe. This evening’s opposition come in the form of fourth tier side (Derde Divisie) ADO ‘20.

I have been in Holland for nine days now and I am loving every second. To be working with a national football team everyday and get to be a part of their matches, visiting obscure teams around the country has been awesome so far, this is only game one for the side and my second game of my trip.

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TT Stat Zone

I wrote in my last blog that this was going to be a trip of firsts. This was my first visit to Sportpark de Vlotter and what I love the most about this visit is that I would never consider a game at this ground if I was just coming to Holland for a weekend!

I was also excited to see how the Solomon Islands would do in a game scenario. I had seen enough of them in training to know that they could play a bit, but different continents produce varying styles and there was a lot of factors that the boys would have to adjust to. Things like artificial pitches, evening kick offs and a more physical opposition were all fair challenges for Rijsbergen’s men to overcome.

ADO ‘20 play in Heemskerk, in the north west of the country, just north of Amsterdam. They play in the Dutch fourth tier and their kit looks like a blue version of Ajax.

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The Ground

We pulled up to Sportpark de Vlotter after the two-hour bus ride and the first thing you see is the giant painting of a mean-looking donkey on the back of the main stand. Their nickname, the Super Ezels, translates to the Super Donkeys which I thought was amazing!

I was very impressed with the facilities at the ground. We walked through the iron gates, painted in the club colours of blue and white, and entered the ground. To the left was a full size artificial pitch and to the right was a smaller artificial pitch, just next to the main stand. The clubhouse was behind one of the goals of the main stadium and there was some grass pitches over the far side where another game was currently in progress.

We went into the clubhouse where there was a big, modern and nicely decorated bar downstairs and a traditional style boardroom upstairs. The club greeted us with some Chinese food and complimentary programmes and team sheets for the game ahead.

Back outside and into the ground which is quite simple. There is one covered seated stand that nearly covers the length of the pitch and the rest of the ground is uncovered standing. There are a couple of concrete steps on the far side that stretches the length of the pitch to give supporters a slightly raised view.

There was a good crowd gathering for the fixture and a lot of junior players from ADO ‘20 in full kits. This was because as part of the tour, three of the Solomon Island squad would face up against 100 junior players from the club as a bit of a publicity exercise. I believe this is planned for all seven fixtures.

On this particular occasion, the three players of defender John Aeta, midfielder Patrick Taroga and striker Raynick Laete were unable to get any sort of touch of the ball and they lost to the herd of children!

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The Game

The Solomon Islands national team started their run of seven games in ten days with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Dutch Derde Divisie side ADO ‘20 thanks to a goal from Rick Neele after seven minutes.

It was a good test for the national team, who have been training in The Netherlands for the past week leading up to the game. The squad will be tested with more games this week when they face VOAB on Friday evening before heading to Roosendaal on Saturday to play RKSV BSC.

Under the stewardship of former Netherlands defender Wim Rijsbergen, the side lined up for their first ever game on European soil with an experienced side, including captain and current leading goal scorer Benjamin Totori. The coach made three substitutions at half time and a further three changes with 20 minutes to go as he rotated his squad.

Totori had an early shot blocked for the Solomon Islands, but they were soon a goal down when Neele was able to work a bit of space inside the area and poke the ball into the corner past Philip Mango. In the build up, a throw in managed to hit two Solomon defenders before Sead Mazreku flicked the ball in to Neele to score.

With the visitors settling into their stride, they nearly pulled the score level with Joses Nawo chased down the goalkeeper and managed to block his clearance and the ball spun agonisingly wide of the post.

A minute later, Totori broke free and showed a fierce turn of pace to get past the defender before squaring the ball into the box, but the ADO defence were able to clear the danger.

ADO’s Luc Schuffelen was shown a yellow card for a foul on Alwin Hou on the edge of the area and Totori couldn’t quite curl the free kick on target.

Mazreku had a chance for the hosts on 35 minutes when his low drive was well saved by Mango and the goalkeeper was able to react to pounce on the loose ball.

On the stroke of halftime, Solomon Islands were displaying some neat passes around the ADO penalty area and the ball was worked to central defender Allen Peter who hit a ferocious low shot just wide of Mats van der Wijst’s goal.

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Rijsbergen made a triple substitution for the start of the second half when striker Andrew Abba, midfielder Dennis Ifunaoa and defender Andrew Rarangia replaced Nawo, Gagame Feni and Peter respectively.

The fresh legs added a spark to the visitors who went close to an equaliser when Totori slammed a shot wide shortly after the restart. Abba showed plenty of energy in attack to close down the defenders and try and force a mistake.

ADO went close to doubling the lead when a cross into the area was fumbled by Mango but the defence was alert to deal with the danger and clear the ball away.

The visitors were getting closer to finding that equaliser and Totori tested ADO substitute ‘keeper Joey Wiese with a low shot after Atkin Kaua and Ifunaoa worked a short corner to the captain.

With just over an hour played, Abba went close to grabbing his first international goal when he connected with Ifunaoa’s cross on the full volley but it flew just wide.

At the other end, Mango was again on hand to keep the score down when he blocked from Schuffelen.

Rijsbergen made three more changes on 72 minutes as Raynick Laete, Patrick Taroga and John Aeta replaced Totori, Jerry Donga and Emmanuel Poila.

It was a physical test for the national team, as Schuffelen and Aengari came to blows in the second half. The pair tangled when trying to get to the ball and despite a quick word from the referee, Schuffelen continued to target the Solomon defender with some late challenges.

The visitors were creating plenty of chances as Ifunaoa fired over late on. In the final moments the Bonitos had more chances and plenty of possession but ADO were staying solid as the final whistle drew near.

With seconds left in the game, Kaua connected with Ifunaoa who fired at goal but Wiese did excellently to block the ball away and protect the slender advantage for the hosts.

For the national team, they will continue their Netherlands training camp with a game against VOAB in the south of the country on Friday.

Check out an album of images from the game here.

2018/19 Games: 99

2018/19 Grounds: 64

Total Grounds Visited: 257 (64)

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