SOUTH PORTLAND — Frustration over missed opportunities turned into elation in the final minute of regulation for Charlie Cronin and the South Portland boys’ soccer team on Tuesday night.

Using some fancy footwork against visiting Portland, Cronin scored with 44.2 seconds remaining to send the Red Riots (4-3) to a 1-0 over the Bulldogs (5-2-1).

“I don’t know how he finished it,” said South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy. “Charlie had a bunch of opportunities where he was getting one-on-one with their sweeper and we like that matchup. Charlie’s an excellent player and we were looking to get him one-on-one with a defender. He had two or three opportunities, and just couldn’t quite get his shot off, but was able to finish that one at the end.”

Added Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli: “They had their shot tonight and they made it, and we had some chances and didn’t.”

Cronin scooped up a loose ball inside the box, dribbled along the end line before he slipped a through ball between a pair of defenders and picked it back up behind them with just the goalie to beat.

After missing several chances on similar plays earlier in the game, Cronin’s final strike proved to be true.

“Today was just one of those times where I couldn’t finish,” said Cronin. “The not being able to finish part just makes that one feel so much better.”

Added Frenzilli: “He had been doing it all night and we had been equal to rotating behind and had been able to take it away. I would’ve hoped that’s the way it would’ve been at the end, but it got really stretched out and we didn’t have the people where they needed to be. He took advantage of that because we didn’t have anyone to sweep it out, and he went one-on-one with Rowan (Daligan) and just got his foot on it first.”

Cronin scored the winner, but without the impressive play of junior goalie Riley Hasson, South Portland may have never had the chance to win. The Red Riots’ keeper turned away nine shots, including several tough chances in the first half and a breakaway attempt with just over nine minutes to play.

“We did not play well in the first half and they really took it to us,” said Hoy. “I told the guys at half that we were lucky not to be down three or four to nothing. Riley came up huge in the first half, and then again a couple times in the second half.”

Portland, which faces another big challenge when its hosts Scarborough on Friday, left the field feeling like they were the ones who had missed an opportunity.

“For the guys to play the way they did and have it come down to that, obviously the kid took advantage of his chance and buried it and that was it, but it’s heartbreaking to go through 89 minutes and 30 seconds and lose,” said Frenzilli. “I thought we played with them. The game was even back and forth, and I thought we did a lot of stuff but they’re the ones that finished.”