Big Red boys hand Marietta its first defeat

Marietta High’s Austyn Chen, left, controls the ball as Parkersburg High’s Caden Rogers keeps pace during a high school boys soccer match Tuesday at Stadium Field. Photo by Ron Johnston.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg High pinned Marietta High with its first soccer setback of the season.

The W.Va. Class AAA, ninth-ranked Big Reds scored four second-half goals en route to a 5-0 triumph over the Tigers Tuesday night at Stadium Field.

“I didn’t expect that,” said PHS head coach Don Fosselman. “No one expected that. It wasn’t a rout. It was close.

“I was worried about this game, because Marietta’s good. It was a real quality win for us against a quality opponent.”

Parkersburg improved its record to 7-1-2, while Marietta fell to 4-1-1.

“Marietta is well-coached, and they have some tremendous talent,” Fosselman said. “We beat really good team tonight. I feel very good about it.”

PHS got two goals from senior captain Parker Miller and one apiece from Anthony Fleshman, Asthon Farnsworth and Matt Runyon. Isaiah Owen, Fleshman and Runyon had one assist apiece, while junior keeper and cap Jacob McKnight finished with 14 saves and was credited with a clean sheet.

“The Big Reds are getting better,” Fosselman said. “We have to just believe in ourselves and keep working hard.”

Marietta senior goalie and cap Ian Coleman finished with 17 saves, including a penalty-kick stop. The Tigers had a couple of scoring opportunities but lacked a finishing touch.

“Actually, I thought we had the better of the run of play in the first half,” said MHS boss Todd Morris. “We outshot them in the first half.”

But the Tigers trailed the Big Reds, 1-0, at the intermission, thanks to an unassisted goal by Fleshman in the 11th minute of play.

“Marietta kept it close with it being 1-0 at halftime,” Fosselman said. “At halftime, we talked about playing the ball more at the feet and little things like that.”

Early in the second half, PHS stretched its lead to 2-0 when Farnsworth headed home Owen’s header.

“That was beautiful, a double-header,” Fosselman said. “I think Anthony Fleshman started that, but he won’t get credit for the assist, because we don’t do that in high school, I think.”

“When we got that second goal and then the third one,” the coach added. “It just kind of snowballed a little.”

Not long after Farnsworth’s score, Runyon had a long throw-in from the left side of the pitch, which touched a Marietta defender and got past Coleman. That made it 3-0.

“We talked, leading up to this game, how they were dangerous on set pieces, dangerous on throw-ins,” Morris said. “We can’t concede throw-ins in the final third that easy. They got us behind the eight-ball and we didn’t respond very well. That was a pretty disappointing second half. We’ve got to fix that quickly.”

Miller closed out the scoring in the match with two goals. On his first one, he headed Fleshman’s left-side corner kick into the back of the net.

Miller’s second goal came just seconds after Coleman saved a PK attempt by Owen. Runyon was credited with an assist.

“Ian made a great save on the PK,” Morris said. “And we were unlucky on a couple of their goals. But sometimes, you’ve got to make your own luck. They were the better team tonight. And they deserved to win.”

Added the Marietta coach, “There’s no shame in losing to Parkersburg.What Don (Fosselman) has done here since the program started…I’ve got a lot of respect for Parkersburg and Don Fosselman and what they’ve done. It’s good to have them back on the schedule.”