NORTH BERWICK – Taking advantage of speed and a battered Noble defense, the Thornton Academy girls’ soccer team served balls over the Knights’ fullbacks and let its forwards take it from there Wednesday.

The plan worked.

Despite outstanding goaltending by Steph Needham of Noble, the Golden Trojans came away with a 4-0 victory in a Southern Maine Activities Association game.

“We always look to take advantage of our speed,” Thornton forward Kaitlyn Hall said. “That helped us today. That definitely paid off.”

Hall, a hurdler on the track team, scored with 14 minutes left in the first half and Christie Roberts, a track sprinter, made it 2-0 less than 10 minutes later.

All game, the Trojan fullbacks and midfielders launched passes into the Noble end. Thornton’s forwards did a good job of running down those balls and slipping in behind the Knights’ defense for some great chances.

“You can’t teach speed,” Thornton Coach Chris Kohl said. “It’s something we work on, too.”

The Knights (4-5) were hurting at fullback. They started the game without captain Hannah Carlin, who was sick, and then Shannon Horton went down with an injury about midway through the first half.

Horton returned in the second half but later left with another injury.

“We definitely had to look down our depth chart a little bit,” Noble Coach Rodney Brown said.

Thornton (6-2) scored its first goal nine minutes after the first Horton injury, then went up 2-0 when fullback Victoria Cooper sent a long crossing pass to Roberts, who collected the ball behind the defense.

Needham quickly came off her line to challenge, but Roberts chipped a shot over Needham’s head for the score with 5:04 left before the break. It was her first goal of the season.

“I tried to stay as composed and calm as possible,” said Roberts.

Noble was more aggressive in the second half but began to tire as the game progressed.

The Trojans remained fresh by constantly substituting up front, and with 24 minutes left Amanda Arnold was the beneficiary of a turnover, scoring into an empty net to make it 3-0.

Jamie Durie rounded out the scoring when she chased down a through ball, broke in on Needham and tucked a shot in with 3:38 remaining.

It could have easily been seven or eight goals for Thornton except for Needham, who came up big on several chances, especially in the first half when she stoned Durie from point-blank range and stopped a breakaway by Danielle Daigle.

Needham finished with eight saves. Sydney Proctor made four stops for Thornton.

“This was definitely a showcase of two of the best goalies in the league,” Brown said.