WINDHAM – Jake Mello made the right run at just the right time to propel Windham to a 2-1 victory against previously unbeaten South Portland in an SMAA schoolboy soccer game Thursday night.

Mello snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring his second goal of the season with a little more than six minutes left to lift the defending Class A state champion to its fifth consecutive win.

Mello sent a shot from 10 yards from the left post inside the far post after beating the defense to a pass from Christian Hewitt.

“I’m the left midfielder and I saw (Hewitt) make a run straight toward the goal, so I had to make a run around the defense and he placed (the ball) right in the slot for me,” Mello said. “It was a perfect through ball.”

“It was just a beautiful run outside and Christian couldn’t have placed him a better ball,” said Marc Reynolds, who opened the scoring for Windham with his sixth goal less than four minutes into the second half. “It was just a beautiful goal.”

The game matched two of the SMAA’s top teams.

“A lot of people thought (South Portland) was going to have a down year,” Windham Coach Colin Minte said, “but I think they are one of the top-tier teams and they’re going to be dangerous come the playoffs. They work hard.”

The loss snapped South Portland’s five-game win streak.

“It was a really well-played game by both sides,” South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy said. “Windham is one of the top teams in the league. If we’re competing with them, we’re off to a good start.”

Windham held a 10-5 edge in shots in a scoreless first half.

“I thought in the first half they dominated play, and we were lucky to get out of there without giving up a goal,” Hoy said.

Ben Burkey made three of his five saves in the first half for the Red Riots.

“In the second half, we possessed (the ball) a little bit better and brought the attack to them,” Hoy said.

Minte agreed.

“We had the better of the play in the first half,” he said. “I thought in the second half they had the better opportunities and they really put some pressure on us.

Reynolds, who fanned on a shot from right in front late in the first half, scored the first goal when his shot along the ground from the right side of the penalty area caromed in off the far post.

“I’m just trying to make the most of every chance I get,” he said. “You’ve got to try to finish all the time. You’ve got to work your hardest.”

The Riots (5-1-1) tied the score in the 51st minute when Tony Fox sent a right-footed volley from the left side of the goal inside the far post after receiving Adam Helmke’s feed from inside a clutch of players in front of the goal.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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