There was a relief as the ball hit the back of the net but for Nathan Thompson there was also a sense of redemption - as Stevenage beat Watford on penalties in the Carabao Cup.

The 32-year-old scored the decisive spot-kick in a 4-3 shoot-out win, after the two sides had drawn 1-1 at the Lamex Stadium.

It sent Boro into the second round for the third season in a row but it also helped erase some of the hurt from Thompson's last shoot-out involvement, as his then club Peterborough United were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off semi-final in May.

The Comet: Nathan Thompson scores the decisive penalty. Picture: TGS PHOTONathan Thompson scores the decisive penalty. Picture: TGS PHOTO (Image: TGS Photo)

"It is a good feeling," said Thompson. "It was only two games ago that I was sat in the centre circle after the play-off semi-final on the losing side. 

"I know it can be tough so it was important that I stepped up, especially as captain, and it was good it hit the back of the net and sent us through to the next round. 

"It was probably one of the first I’ve taken in a competitive game. 

"I think you can't go wrong. You [just need] to get your head over it before striking through it and give yourself the best possible chance."

The result looked a long way away when the Hornets took a sixth-minute lead but after a tactical switch, Josh March levelled before the break.

Thompson's one disappointment was that they didn't go on and win the game in normal time.

He said: "The boys were fantastic after getting to grips with what they were trying to do after 15 minutes. 

"We got a real handle on it and I think we matched them across the pitch and we got our just rewards in the end. 

"They started dominating possession and we knew that was the style they like to play.  

"But credit to the lads for not letting their heads drop against good opposition. 

"We're probably a little bit disappointed that we're not been a little bit more ruthless at the top end of the pitch because then it wouldn’t need to go to penalties. 

"But it sets it us up nicely. We spoke about momentum before the game and this has certainly given us that going into Saturday."

That is a home game against Shrewsbury Town back in League One and Thompson believes the squad has already shown it is pulling together as one thanks to this win and the one over Northampton Town on Saturday. 

He said: "We've got a really good group of boys and you can already see that even after such an influx of players coming in, we’re already gelling on the pitch. 

"Getting results in the first two games is credit to the management and the team that the gaffer has assembled. 

"I’m looking forward to the season ahead. We’ve got a nice blend of young and old players and hopefully we can achieve something."