THORN Athletic booked their place in the third round of the Douglas Smith League Cup by the slimmest of margins after winning a penalty shootout against Eaglesham on Saturday.

The 1-1 full-time scoreline may point towards a tight encounter but, in reality, the Johnstone team were wasteful in front of goal.

Dean Scott slid the ball past the onrushing Eaglesham keeper for the opening goal in the first half.

It was a welcome goal for Scott, who has recovered from a niggling injury, and one that may contribute towards a selection dilemma for manager Johnny McEwan going forward.

However, there was less fortunate news on the injury front for defender Darren Wilson, who had to be replaced by Scott Robson after just 26 minutes.

Wilson’s injury was the only real negative in an otherwise positive first half for Thorn which saw their captain Ryan Crawford dictate the pace of the game from midfield in what would prove to be a man-of-the-match performance.

Thorn continued to push for a second goal after the restart and looked particularly dangerous from set-pieces, with Ian Paterson and Scott Robson both missing from within the box.

However, as the game remained at 1-0, Thorn’s defensive line dropped and Eaglesham’s confidence increased in equal measure.

The equaliser came in one of the last actions of the match as Ross Carlin glanced home a header to send the game to penalties.

Thorn had to regroup after suffering such a late setback but they remained composed in the shootout as they converted four of their five penalties to ensure their progression to the third round.

McEwan said: “We made life very difficult for ourselves by failing to take our chances. They were clear-cut chances as well, not just half-chances, so that was very frustrating.

“We got our goal but never really built on it and that gave Eaglesham an incentive as the game went on. The longer it was only one-nil, the more they came into the tie.

“They got their equaliser mainly because we had failed to kill the game off. It was probably no more than they deserved.

“Thankfully, the shootout went our way and we made it through to the next round but it was certainly a struggle for us.”

Thorn now have a scheduled weekend off from competitive action as they prepare for what could be an intense but highly rewarding final few months of the season.

McEwan added: “Hopefully, a wee break will refresh everyone and we'll get a few more bodies back.

"Just as we are getting some guys fit again, others are picking up injuries, so there's been no consistency.

“We are still fighting on all fronts, so it will be a busy end to the campaign if we can continue to pick up results.

“We will get a few training sessions under our belt before the next game a week on Saturday and, fingers crossed, we will be in better shape.”