Saturday, May 25, 2013
By Mark Jeanneret, Special to the Press Herald
GORHAM - Austin Bell figured it was a matter of time before his team found its range.
Ben Michaud of South Portland, left, and Nate Roberts of Gorham compete for a header Tuesday during the SMAA schoolboy soccer game at Gorham. Austin Bell, after numerous chances for Gorham, came up with the only goal of the game after 75 minutes.
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
South Portland goalkeeper Ben Burkey comes down with a shot as Austin Bell of Gorham prepares to pounce on a possible rebound.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
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Bell was right. It took numerous missed opportunities and 75 minutes of play before his shot broke a stalemate, leading Gorham to a 1-0 victory over South Portland in an SMAA boys' soccer game Tuesday night.
"It was coming down to the last few minutes and I was feeling a lot of pressure," Bell said. "I got a nice ball passed back to me and I just hit it as best as I could. We had so many shots before, I was just hoping I could get in and create another chance. The fact that it went in was overwhelming."
Bell's excitement would have been significantly muted if not for Alex McCarthy. The Gorham goalkeeper, who was seldom tested throughout the game, came up with two superb saves just before the winner.
Ben Michaud of South Portland had the first opportunity when he ended up with a clear path to the goal from about 25 yards with 15 minutes remaining. McCarthy lunged across to keep the game scoreless.
McCarthy had to be on his toes again seven minutes later when Ahmed Suja set up Andrew Whipple.
"We have a lot of confidence in our goalie and our defense," said Gorham Coach Tim King. "We know against good teams we're going to be pushed sometimes and we're going to be challenged and we feel like we're up to that challenge. (McCarthy) came up with a couple of great saves and we know he can do that."
The Rams (8-0-2) carried most of the play in the second half and were rewarded with several chances.
Seth Anderson started what developed into a promising opportunity nine minutes into the second half when he tapped a pass to Chandler Reagan. After a couple of nifty moves, Reagan found Milan Vidovic on his wing but the shot sailed wide.
Four minutes later, Cody Elliott had another Grade A chance for the Rams but again the shot was sent wide of the goal.
"They outplayed us for sure," said South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy. "We were kind of lucky to only let up the one goal but we had a couple of opportunities to score as well. That's kind of how we've played against the really tough teams. We hang in there defensively and we look for a counterattack. They battled it today and they didn't let us get one of those attacks."
The Red Riots (6-2-2) started the game quickly and threatened four minutes in when a pass from deep in the South Portland end connected with Dillon Burns in full stride. Burns managed to get a step ahead of the pursuing defenders but unleashed a shot that carried high over the crossbar.
Gorham countered with a chance off a free kick by Connor Reagan 10 minutes into the game. Reagan snapped a quick kick toward the goal but South Portland goalkeeper Ben Burkey calmly moved across to make the save.
Another chance came midway through the half when Chandler Reagan struck a free kick from midfield into the penalty area. The ball eventually found Vidovic, who sent a header just wide of the goal.
Seconds later, Spence Cowand had a chance from a dangerous distance that he sent wide of the goal.
click image to enlarge
Chandler Reagan of Gorham eludes South Portland defender Ben Michaud while bringing the ball up the field.