AMSTERDAM, February 20 (Eredivisie) - Ajax's blushes were spared when two stoppage time goals sealed the points for the high-flyers against rock bottom Den Bosch at the Amsterdam ArenA.
The result enabled the home side to close the gap to second-placed AZ Alkmaar - who could only manage a draw against Roda JC - to four points, but it was heartbreaking for their battling visitors.
Den Bosch coach Henk Wisman thought that his side had picked up a famous point, that would have been their first in nine games, only to be denied at the last.
In a quiet opening to the game it took until the 23rd minute for the home side to threaten the Den Bosch goal. Angelos Charisteas controlled the ball well on the edge of the box before laying off to Anthony Obodai, who could only shoot wide from 20 yards.
This shot opened the floodgates as Ajax piled forward in waves. Four minutes later Mauro Rosales played a ball out wide to defender Johnny Heitinga, who continued his run into the box to fire a shot that clipped the Den Bosch crossbar.
On the half-hour mark Rafael van der Vaart's 20-yard free-kick was tipped wide by goalkeeper Kris Mampaey, who by now had realised he was set for a busy afternoon.
Confusion in the visitors penalty area nearly ended in a fortunate opener for Ajax after Maxwell's cross saw defender Steve Olfers and goalkeeper Mampaey both go for the same ball. Olfers nearly turned the ball into his own net but luckily for him the ball went wide for a corner.
The Amsterdam crowd were beginning to get restless and matters were not helped when Heitinga seemed to have converted a corner from van der Vaart in the 40th minute, only for the goal to be disallowed as the defender was adjudged to have impeded goalkeeper Mampaey.
The second half continued in a similar vein with both Boukhari and van der Vaart going close with efforts from distance. But just when Den Bosch looked like they were going to hold on the deadlock was broken.
One minute into injury time Daniel de Ridder latched onto a through ball from substitute Yannis Anastatiou and finished from 12 yards with his left foot.
If that seemed harsh on the visitors matters were compounded a minute later as Boukhari converted a de Ridder cross to make it 2-0, a scoreline Ajax probably deserved after bombarding the Den Bosch goal.