THORN ATHLETIC manager Johnny McEwan hailed his side after they brought the Caledonian League’s William Turner Challenge Cup back to Renfrewshire for the first time in 20 years.

The Johnstone club were celebrating after Tom Smith’s second-half strike saw off the challenge of Dalziel at Broadwood Stadium on Friday night.

Viewfield Rovers were the last side from the area to bring the cup home and McEwan was delighted to finally land his first piece of silverware as Thorn boss.

He said: “It was a hard fought encounter but we created the better chances and ultimately deserved the win. Our keeper didn’t have a save to make although we soaked up some pressure in the latter stages.

“For many of the younger players in our squad this was their first time getting over that winning line in a competition and hopefully they will want more now.

The Gazette: Thorn defender Ian Paterson received the man of the match award at BroadwoodThorn defender Ian Paterson received the man of the match award at Broadwood

“We had a fantastic support there including 50 or 60 kids from our youth academy so it was a great experience for them.” 

McEwan continued: “It’s good for everyone associated with the club and it keeps everyone motivated.”

There were some early nerves as Thorn took time to settle with Dalziel knocking the ball about and making them work hard for possession.

Eventually a few decent half chances fell the Thorn’s way with Smith warming the Dalziel keeper’s hands.

Thorn created a few more opportunities after the break before the goal arrived just short of the hour mark when Smith made himself the hero with a low shot from inside the box.

Thorn could have doubled their lead soon after and again it was Smith who threatened but his shot was cleared.

Some nerves kicked in as the game got tighter in the latter stages, however the defence stood firm and the final whistle was greeted by jubilant cheers from the large travelling support .

Skipper Ryan Crawford was presented with the cup by the Caledonian League President Graeme Robertson while defender Ian Paterson received the man-of-the-match award.

Thorn are also leading the Caledonian Premier League with four games remaining and hope this cup triumph will inspire them onto a potential double.

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