Gorham locked up a 2-1 win at South Portland with mere minutes remaining on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12. The Rams capitalized on a disorganized Riots moment, rushing a tiny tap of a corner kick onto the field before shuttling the ball outward to Tyler Richman, whose shot cruised low-left past Riots keeper Riley Hasson for the go-ahead goal.

Right then, Gorham showed off just how alert they are, and how well they work as a team; after all, the Riots are hardly a bunch of slouches, and catching them so off-guard was no mean feat.

“That was a hard-fought game, for sure,” said Rams head coach Tim King. “South Portland is incredibly dangerous. They knocked us out of the tournament last year.”

King especially lauded the Riots’ Kervens Antoine and Ahmed Suja. “They’re super dangerous up top,” he said. “You always have to be aware of them.

“We probably didn’t play with as much composure in the first half as I would’ve liked, but we settled down in the second half and luckily got that late goal.”

“It was a very well-played game,” said South Portland head coach Brian Hoy. “I thought we defended a little too much. We weren’t really able to connect many passes, but I think that’s more Gorham was playing really well.”

Gorham jumped in front early, Erik Andreasen feeding a ball from the bottom left corner of South Portland’s zone to Jackson Fotter, planted squarely at Hasson’s feet for a highlight-reel redirect header and the 1-0 advantage.

“That was a beautiful goal,” King said. “Well-earned, for sure.”

Play evened out after that, both squads earning their chances. The Riots eventually – that is, with less than 10 minutes to play – leveled the score at one all, Antoine bulldozing through heavy coverage out front of Gorham keeper Trenton Bassingthwaite to hash a goal he’d clearly been itching to hash all game.

“Kervens is one of the fastest strong kids I think I’ve ever had,” said Hoy. “That was actually his worst shot of the day. We knew he was going to score at some point…it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.

“We came back,” said Hoy, “which was nice. We haven’t been down yet this season, so it was nice to see how we’d respond, and I thought we responded well. We didn’t get complacent, we didn’t start pointing fingers, we just banded together and came back.”

But it was the Rams who won the day. Awarded a corner with 2:26 remaining, they evidently realized that, while they were prepped, the Riots were not. A couple short passes later, Richman ripped his fateful ball past Hasson. 2-1 the final.

“It wasn’t the call,” King said of the hurry-up attack. “But our kids are pretty aware. They saw that maybe South Portland wasn’t quite watching what was going on, played a quick one and got the ball across to Tyler and he buried the shot.

“We’ve got a good awareness with our players. That certainly wasn’t a call from the bench.”

“I thought we played very well for 79 minutes and 54 seconds,” said Hoy. “And then there was six seconds where we kind of fell asleep. They took a corner, came right at us. We weren’t ready for it at all, and my guys have got to know better than that.”

Gorham leapt to 2-0 on the win. The Rams hosted Scarborough (also 2-0) on Tuesday, Sept. 15, after Current Publishing’s print deadlines, and will welcome Bonny Eagle (1-1) on Thursday.

South Portland slipped to 2-1. The Riots traveled to Bonny Eagle on Tuesday and will visit Scarborough on Thursday.

Gorham’s Emerson Fox boots the ball forward as South Portland’s Ahmed Suja bears down.Gorham’s Cody Elliot and South Portland’s Ahmed Suja vie for a header in midair.Gorham’s Gerek Brown keeps a step ahead of the Riots’ Kervens Antoine as the two pursue the ball.South Portland keeper Riley Hasson gets height over Rams challenger Kyle King and latches onto a midair ball.South Portland’s Patrick Graff heads the ball forward, away from Gorham pursuer Jackson Fotter.A handful of Riots – including Princiel Kunikei (19), Charlie Cronin (10) and Alex Livingston (11) – watch as a Gorham ball shoots past them.Gorham’s Kyle King and South Portland’s Alex Livingston clash over a header.

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