That's Jol Folks!

Managers leaving, late goals, a footballing festival? Can only be John Dobson with the round-up from Holland.

Groningen 4-1 Vitesse

Ajax 1-1 NEC

PSV 5-2 Heracles

Twente 2-0 De Graafschap

Excelsior P-P NAC

Willem II 1-1 Feyenoord

Utrecht 2-1 Heerenveen

ADO 0-2 AZ

VVV Venlo P-P Roda JC

Yet again, the headlines should be dominated by Feyenoord’s ineptitude as they were held by Willem II. Again, however, it’s their arch-enemies Ajax who crank up the crazy once again to trump them. For once, Feyenoord looked to be on their way to a routine win courtesy of Kelvin Leerdam who turned Diego Biseswar’s free-kick into the goal from close range. Chances were few and far between and Willem II were always going to need help getting back on terms. This they got five minutes from time as a free-kick – more hopeful than well-directed – was headed into his own net by Ricky van Haaren under no pressure whatsoever. Rob van Dijk had it covered. All van Haaren had to do was make no contact.

And yet, and yet, and yet. There was no hint of the drama to come when Miralem Sulejmani crossed deep with the outside of his left boot and Mido met it on the run to head Ajax ahead of NEC. They were in front for only a few minutes as they failed completely to deal with a free-kick and Bram Nuytinck thundered a drive in through a crowd scene. No Luis Suarez and Ajax look a bit lost, but they’re not just without their on-field talisman as Martin Jol sensationally walked out in the immediate aftermath of the game, citing unrealistic expectations around the club. “The amount of criticism that the club has had to endure daily”, he told the club’s official website, “has led to unrest in the club and among players”. Hoping to settle that unrest will be Frank de Boer, installed initially on a caretaker basis up to the winter break. No destination has yet appeared on the horizon for Jol, but coming as it did alongside Newcastle having a brain fart of their own, he was immediately linked to both that and a return to Hamburg where Armin Veh is looking like being sacked from his third different club in as many seasons.

PSV continue to lead on goal difference from Twente after both won comfortably at the weekend. Everton scored twice for Heracles against the Eindhoveners, once to put them ahead and again to equalise after Balazs Dzsudzsak had turned things around, but it all went wrong for the back-and-whites after Peter Reekers was booked a second time with twenty minutes to go. Toivonen got his second shortly afterwards and some gloss was put on it in the dying moments through Ibrahim Afellay and Marcus Berg. Twente look set to lose Theo Janssen in the January window as former manager Steve McClaren looks to bolster his Wolfsburg midfield. He’ll be missed in Enschede and he got both, one in each half, in Twente’s win over De Graafschap. Both were free-kicks which the keeper should have done better with. The first bounced in front of him which common consensus tells us is always difficult, but Boy Waterman, for it was him, was rooted to the spot as he watched the second curl inside his near post.

A tenth win of the season for Groningen sees them go past Ajax into third, four points off the lead. A goalless first half quickly gave way to a footballing festival in the second. Dusan Tadic was felled in the box by Gino Felixdaal and Andreas Granqvist converted the spot kick. Some shocking defending from Vitesse at a free-kick allowed Tim Matavz to double the lead and Petter Andersson rattled in a cracking 20-yarder for the third. Marcus Pedersen volleyed one back, but Groningen had the last word as Tim Sparv was found by Fredrik Stenman’s cut-back and finished high to the keeper’s right from the edge of the box. AZ have only lost one of their last twelve and are up to fifth – level on points with Ajax – and were comfortable winners in Den Haag this week. Rasmus Elm converted a penalty late in the first half after Pascal Bosschartt kicked Maarten Martens four feet up in the air. Martens got the second and decisive goal five minutes into the second half as a cross evaded everyone and found him alone at the back post. Utrecht got back to winning ways and leapfrog Heerenveen as they go up to seventh. Roy Beerens put Heerenveen ahead from the penalty spot after he was tripped by Tim Cornelisse, though contact appeared to take place a couple of inches outside the box. Some shocking defending from a throw-in allowed Dries Mertens the chance to equalise ten minutes later and it looked like staying 1-1, but Jan Wuytens wrapped his foot round a corner to divert the ball in at the near post in the first minute of stoppage time.

The weather intervened in the remaining two games. Thick fog descended on the Verzekringen seven minutes into Excelsior’s game against NAC and they’ll try again on the 14th while VVV will have another go against Roda the following day as their game was washed out by a torrential downpour.

The big game next week sees AZ go to Groningen, though the most intrigue will be in Rotterdam where Feyenoord face their feeder club Excelsior at De Kuip. Frank de Boer’s Ajax tenure begins in Arnhem while leaders PSV are at De Graafschap and Twente are also away, up north in Heerenveen. There are some mid-table clashes where ADO travel to face Roda JC and NAC have a visit from Utrecht.

Heracles v VVV Venlo

NAC v Utrecht

NEC v Willem II

Roda JC v ADO

De Graafschap v PSV

Vitesse v Ajax

Groningen v AZ

Heerenveen v Twente

Feyenoord v Excelsior

John writes regularly for IBWM, and you can follow him on Twitter @DobsonJP