Thorn into last 16 in Scottish Cup campaign
Hard-fought victory moves Johnstone team into next round
Johnstone’s Thorn Athletic reached the last 16 of the Scottish Amateur Cup with a narrow 1-0 triumph against Maryhill Black Star in the sixth round.
Tom Smith’s goal inside the first five minutes was all that separated the sides in a hard-fought affair.
And it was a match that was cast into doubt for some 35 minutes after an ambulance was called to treat the home side’s Brian Noble, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and was taken to hospital.
Now the Johnstone side will head to Dundee for the second time during this run as they face much-fancied Midlands AFA side Douglas – who already dumped holders Colville Park out in an earlier round.
So far, James Donnelly’s side have never been the first name out the hat and have yet to be handed a home draw, which has ensured many tough away days for the lads.
And none more so than on Saturday, when they were made to battle all the way to progress to the next round.
Maryhill cracked the bar at one end before Thorn broke up the park and Ross Horne played in powerful Smith who rounded the keeper to score.
The visitors had the better of the first half but after the interval it was a different story with Black Star coming into the game strongly only to be stopped in their tracks by the injury.
After the restart Thorn’s Liam Allen shot wide and midfielder Ross Perrie forced the keeper into a magnificent save.
Thorn keeper Liam McWilliams then produced a matchwinning save late on before skipper Ryan Crawford missed a glaring chance to put the tie beyond doubt.
But delighted boss Donnelly said: “At this stage in the competition everyone is giving their all and it was a great battling performance.
“When you consider the number of teams that start off in the national cup competition then to reach the last 16 two seasons in a row is testament to how hard the boys have worked.
“We haven’t played a league game for months unfortunately, so we have some work to do there.”
This week Thorn Athletic host Giffnock North in the Caledonian Premier League at Renfrew Sports Centre with a 1pm kick-off.
Marching on Thorn Athletic booked their spot in the next round of the Amateur Cup