Scarborough sophomore Evan Kelleher is congratulated by junior Owen Leadley (5), senior Tommy Stratis (4) and senior Danny Travers (18) after scoring late in the Red Storm’s 2-0 win at South Portland Saturday. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos. More photos below.

SOUTH PORTLAND—It was a case of deja vu when Scarborough visited South Portland in a boys’ soccer battle Saturday afternoon at Martin Memorial Field.

Good deja vu for the Red Storm, who did just enough to get in the win column. Again.

And agonizing deja vu for the Red Riots, who had ample opportunities to beat their rival/nemesis for the first time, only to wind up in a familiar spot.

On the wrong end of the scoreboard.

South Portland was frustrated by Scarborough’s defense and junior goalkeeper Alex Bachmann, but the Red Riots held the Red Storm in check as well until 15:43 remained, when a South Portland foul in the box gave the visitors a penalty kick and junior Zach Chaisson converted for a 1-0 lead.

After a pair of Red Riots’ near-misses, Scarborough clinched it with 3:17 to go, as sophomore Evan Kelleher scored on a corner kick and the Red Storm went on to a 2-0 victory.

Scarborough improved to 3-0-2, stayed undefeated all-time versus South Portland and dropped the Red Riots to 3-1-1 in the process.

“We finally got it going,” said longtime Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. “It’s a tough place to play and (South Portland’s) a good team with good athletes. They do a good job defending. There weren’t a lot of chances for either team.”

Hard-fought

Scarborough entered play having won 16 of the previous 17 meetings (see below) and the teams tied the other, 2-2, Sept. 1, 2012, in South Portland.

The teams didn’t play each of the past two seasons.

This fall, both squads are in contention in a deep and balanced Class A South.

South Portland began with a scoreless home tie versus Cheverus, then won at Windham (3-1), at home over Thornton Academy (1-0) and at Sanford (2-0).

Scarborough also tied in its opener, 1-1, at Deering, then defeated visiting Biddeford, 5-0, and host Thornton Academy, 2-0. Tuesday, the Red Storm settled for a 1-1 home draw against Westbrook.

Saturday, the Red Riots hoped for their long-awaited first win over the Red Storm, but Scarborough, again, made the plays when it mattered most.

In just the second minute, off a corner kick, South Portland had a chance to get the jump, but the ball skittered through the box untouched.

The Red Storm then transitioned to offense and got a shot from sophomore Nicholas Connolly, but Red Riots senior goalkeeper Corey Gagne made the save.

In the sixth minute, Scarborough senior Jacob Haggerty lofted a perfect pass on to the foot of senior Tommy Stratis, but Stratis’ one-timer went just wide.

After South Portland senior Denilson Mowa missed just high in the 15th minute, senior Anthony Perron got through the Red Storm defense in the 25th minute, but with Bachmann out of the cage, he shot just wide.

Late in the first half, Chaisson missed just high, freshman Zander Haskell had a shot blocked and Stratis’ rebound bid was swept away by a defender, Bachmann made a nice save on a Perron blast and Gagne leapt to save a bid from Chaisson.

In the first 40 minutes, Scarborough had a 5-2 edge in shots on frame and the Red Riots had a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks, but the game remained scoreless.

That would change, eventually, in the second half.

First, South Portland junior Noah Dreifus missed wide, Perron shot high and a long shot from sophomore Joey Perron was saved by Bachmann.

With 15:43 remaining in regulation and overtime entering the thoughts of many on hand, Scarborough senior Danny Travers was fouled in the box and the Red Storm were awarded a penalty kick.

Diaz elected to have Chaisson do the honors and he didn’t disappoint, ripping a high shot past Gagne to the goalie’s left for a 1-0 lead.

“I knew it was a big kick and our team really needed the goal,” said Chaisson. “I usually try to shoot at the same spot. I just concentrated on the shot and it felt good. We knew there was still a lot of soccer left, so we had to keep battling.”

“I have several guys I use (for PKs), but Zach I thought was in a good rhythm and he wanted to take it,” Diaz said. “It was a good PK for us. I knew it would take something like that today.”

The Red Riots didn’t buckle and almost got the equalizer in the 72nd minute, but first Anthony Perron forced Bachmann to make a sprawling save, then Mowa missed just high.

Scarborough’s defense slammed the door from there and after earning a penalty kick, the Red Storm doubled their lead with 3:17 remaining, as junior Owen Leadley’s serve was handled by Travers, who passed to Kelleher, who tucked the ball home.

South Portland couldn’t recover and Scarborough closed out its 2-0 victory.

“We came in knowing it would be a challenge,” said Chaisson. “We had the mentality we could win and we just fought hard. We keep playing our hardest no matter the score. Even if we’re winning or losing by a lot, we’re still going to play to our full potential. We have a lot of trust in our back four. That trust in our defense builds our confidence in going to our offense.”

“We haven’t had a lot of breathing room this year, so that second goal was nice,” Diaz said.

The Red Storm out-shot the Red Riots, 8-5, and took four corner kicks to South Portland’s three.

Bachmann only had to make five saves, but they were critical.

“Alex came up huge for us,” Diaz said. “He made some big saves.”

South Portland got six saves from Gagne, but couldn’t get the ball in the net.

“It’s the same story with Scarborough every year,” lamented Red Riots coach Bryan Hoy. “You make a mistake and they capitalize every single time. They’re obviously a good team and they converted when they needed to. We need to be better offensively, because we’re really struggling to score. Possession as been great, but it doesn’t help much if we don’t put it in the back of the net. It’s getting that last penetrating pass. The style we play, we don’t generate 10 or 15 opportunities a game. We’ll generate three or four. Today, we had one or two we should have scored on.”

Portland looms

Each squad will see top contender Portland next week.

South Portland sees Noble first, Tuesday in North Berwick, then the Red Riots host the Bulldogs Thursday.

“It’s a close league and anybody can beat anybody,” Hoy said. “It’ll be interesting come playoff time. I tell the guys we’ll probably play on turf and we’re a better team on turf anyway.”

Scarborough is at Portland Tuesday, then welcomes Sanford Saturday.

“Things are going great,” Chaisson said. “We have a young team, but we’re doing the best we can.”

“I feel pretty good,” said Diaz. “We’re still growing and learning. I don’t have a lot of upperclassmen getting a lot of minutes. There’s a lot of parity in the league, so this is a big win on the road for us.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough freshman Noah Flagg keeps the ball away from South Portland junior Damir Brkic.

South Portland senior Anthony Perron and Scarborough senior Jacob Haggerty fight for possession.

South Portland senior Dillan Ray-Bolduc heads the ball away from Scarborough senior Nolan Matthews.

South Portland junior Anthony Nixon tries to break up the rush of Scarborough freshman Zander Haskell.

Scarborough sophomore Nicholas Connolly pressures South Portland senior goalie Corey Gagne as Gagne makes a save.

Scarborough freshman Zander Haskell drives on the South Portland goal.

Scarborough sophomore Evan Kelleher tries to get past South Portland junior Anthony Nixon.

Previous Scarborough-South Portland results

2016
Scarborough 1 @ South Portland 0
Class A South quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 1 South Portland 0

2015
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 1

2014
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 1

2013
@ Scarborough 5 South Portland 0
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2012
@ South Portland 2 Scarborough 2 (tie)

2011
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2010
Scarborough 3 @ South Portland 0

2009
@ Scarborough 4 South Portland 1
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 4 South Portland 0

2008
Scarborough 2 @ South Portland 0

2007
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 1

2006
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 0

2005
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2004
@ Scarborough 6 South Portland 0

2003
Scarborough 1 @ South Portland 0

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