ONA - Jaden Fleshman just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
George Washington's Robby Nunley kicked a ball from the corner of the field toward the Patriots goal that happened to deflect off Cabell Midland's Fleshman and into the goal with 1:30 left in the game to give the visitors a 3-2 high school boys soccer win Thursday.
The goal also completed a rally for G.W. which had been down 2-1 at halftime and preserved its perfect season running the Patriots record to 5-0.
"They played a ball into the corner and (Nunley) cut down the line and he played the ball across and I couldn't do much about it," said Fleshman a sophomore. "I couldn't really adjust myself in time and it ended up going in. I knew immediately it was going in."
After surrendering an early goal to Max Trethewey 12:46 into the game that gave George Washington a 1-0 lead, Cabell Midland (3-2-1) tied the contest at 17:14 when Omar Baryun tied it for the Knights on a penalty kick.
The game stayed tied until Cabell Midland took the lead at 34:53 when Ryan Holmes scored to make it 2-1.
The Knights held that lead until Solomon Clark tied the game again for G.W. and the score remained tied until the final minute.
"I didn't communicate and the defense didn't communicate," said Knights goalkeeper Cameron Grobe when asked about the final play. "(Fleshman) made so many great plays for us. He's made 50 great plays for us so why beat him up for one mistake."
Cabell Midland head coach Brian McNeel also refused to lay any blame on Fleshman for an unlucky play.
"With Jaden he'll pick himself up. I mean it occasionally happens to all of us and Jaden will let himself down for it but he will persevere like he always does," McNeel said. "He is the core of that center. He works hard, he takes it personally but he'll eventually get over it and be right back at it again for Hurricane."
The Midland defense prevented the defending boys Class AAA state champion Patriots from getting good looks at a game tying goal for a majority of the game.
The back line of Fleshman, Baryun, Garrett Shields and Dawson Dillon kept most of the game in front of them.
McNeel said he was pleased with the effort from Midland and said he felt like Thursday's contest was the first complete effort from his team in the six games it's played. That it came against the defending Class AAA state champions allowed McNeel to set the team's mindset for the week ahead.
George Washington stole momentum and started to get penetration against the Knights that McNeel admitted started to wear down late in the game.
"We had to stay patient, continue to play smart, find-feet soccer, play the way we usually play, look for combinations and see if we can come back," said George Washington head coach Erik Engle. "We found out last year when we were in regionals playing Princeton that we had the ability to come back even if we were down."
Engle praised the play of Matthew Vaughn and Solomon Clark.
"Solomon Clark's goal to equalize it was extremely important," Engle said.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 1 2 - 3
CABELL MIDLAND 2 0 - 2
GW - Tretheway (Clark), 12:16.
CM - Baryun PK, 17:14.
CM - Holmes (Shakirov), 34:53.
GW - Clark (Coleman), 59:45.
GW - CM own goal, 78:30.
Shots: GW 15, CM 6. Saves: GW Tiffey 2; CM Grobe 6. Corner kicks: GW 5, CM 2.