Aberdeen Grammar defied their firmest critics with a fighting comeback to draw their National League 1 game with leaders Jed - Forest, inspiring head coach Ali O’Connor to claim, it had felt more like a famous win on Border soil.
“Trailing 24 - 3 well into the second half, we dug deep to pull off a remarkable result. Even at two points in arrears, full back Bryn Perrott’s conversion looked in doubt, but some how his kick from the touchline crept over to give us an outstanding outcome. Our defending was just tremendous, considering it has not been one of our main weaknesses in the first half of the season. We scarcely missed a tackle once we got on the front foot. Anyone who writes us off after this performance, does not know the strength of character in the team,” said a delighted O’Connor.
But while Perrott was the kicker of the day, it was replacement winger Jack Burnett who was try scoring hero of the Riverside Park win, taking the final pass of Craig Shepherd after a magnificent 20 phase build up in the last minute of pulsating game, which Jed knocked off the top slot of the division.
In a tightly fought game, the Border side led by a lone Scott Munro penalty at half time after which the home side pushed on for what looked to be a certain victory, given a three burst, taking them into an apparently unassailable 24 - 3 lead.
Grammar had other ideas, hitting back with two splendid tries from flanker Chris Jollands who underlined his value to the Rubislaw side, storming through with excellent support play from his pack to take the game down to the wire.
Perrott played his part, converting both touchdowns, and at 24 - 17 it was game on going into the closing stages, and its dramatic conclusion.
On this form, it is hard to know what to make of the in and out form of Aberdeen Grammar who will now take a break from the hurly burly of the league, turning their attention instead to the League Cup on Saturday when they meet Stewart’s Melville of National League 2 who will no doubt have looked at the Jed - Forest result and asked where did that come from. A trip to Rubislaw will now be the last thing the Edinburgh side will now want.
But Saturday’s result came with a warning Grammar president Jim Rae who said:” This was a great performance, but let’s not get carried away. There’s almost half the season left in which to secure a top half place in the league which must be our first priority. I am, however, delighted to have witnessed such an amazing, controlled fight back. It takes some of the pain of our humiliating defeat at home to Cartha Queens Park two weeks ago out of our system.”
© Jack Nixon