GORHAM — It couldn’t have been a much better beginning for the Gorham boys’ soccer team Thursday night against Thornton Academy.

Top scorer Jackson Fotter got rolling early with a pair of goals en route to a hat trick, leading Gorham to a 4-1 victory in a battle of undefeated SMAA teams.

Fotter’s first goal came 3:20 into the game when he collected a perfect through pass from Kyle King, who served it from the middle of the field. Fotter dribbled about 10 yards and flicked a shot to the far corner.

A little more than five minutes later, he ran onto a pass over the defense by midfielder Ryan Firmin, and as goalie Colin Daly came out to the top of the box out, Fotter chipped over him.

Fotter, the all-time scoring leader at Gorham (8-0-1), has 20 goals this season.

“He really set the tone for us. He is absolutely our finisher,” Rams Coach Tim King said. “And we gain confidence from him. If we can win balls in the midfield and create chances for him, we are going to score.”

The Trojans (7-1-2) cut the deficit to 2-1 with 16:55 left in the first half on Eric McCallum’s goal, after a misplay by Gorham goalie Alex York (nine saves) on Chase Pierce’s cross.

The goal sparked inspired play by the Golden Trojans, with the majority of the final 20 minutes of the half in the Gorham defensive end. However, the Trojans couldn’t find the equalizer.

“I thought we showed some good resiliency (after being down 2-0),” said Thornton Coach Andrew Carlson. “We had some adversity there (to start) and I thought the boys responded very well. We have guys who have played a lot, so they are not going to panic.”

Gorham put the game out of reach with a pair of goals 43 seconds apart. Ethan Orach netted the first when he raced down the left wing, cut in toward the goal and flicked a shot to the far corner 11:27 into the second half.

Fotter completed his hat trick soon after when he outmuscled a defender on his hip and buried a shot from close range.

“It was a good start for the whole team, that’s what kinda drove us,” said Fotter. “(Thornton) picked it back up … 2-1 is always a dangerous score, because if they score again they are right back in it and it gives them momentum. We knew we had to come out and score an early goal in the second half. We were able to do that, and that got us the big win.

King and Fotter noted that the halftime came at a perfect time.

“We talked at halftime and we really thought we were losing the midfield,” King explained. “I challenged my senior captains, who are my midfielders, and I thought they responded in the second half. Ryan Firmin and Tyler Richman controlled the (second half) and won balls for us.”

Carlson said Gorham was his team’s toughest opponent to date, and despite the score, it was his squad’s best effort.

“This is the best team we’ve played this year,” he said. “If we can come out and replicate this, maybe we can challenge some of the (opposing) sides we have left on our schedule – like Scarborough and Deering.”