Big Interview: Craig Salmon talks to Chorley goalkeeper Matty Urwin about the FA Cup, the future of this season and those penalty saves

Bullish Matty Urwin has not had too many sleepless nights over the goal which ended Chorley’s fairytale FA Cup run.

By Craig Salmon
Saturday, 6th March 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 6th March 2021, 9:14 am

The Magpies shotstopper was beaten by a moment of brilliance by Wolverhampton Wanderers’ forward Vitor Ferreira.

The young Portuguese star took aim from fully 35 yards in the 12th minute of the huge fourth-round encounter at Victory Park in January.

With a national Friday night audience watching at home on television, Ferreira’s wicked strike veered one way and then swerved the next to deceive Urwin in the Chorley goal.

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Chorley goalkeeper Matty Urwin (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

The ball nestled in the back of the net despite the home keeper’s despairing dive and the moment proved to be the decisive moment as the Premier League outfit held on for a tight 1-0 victory over their non-league opponents.

The frown etched on Urwin’s face in the immediate aftermath of the goal could not hide his disappointment after being beaten from o far out.

Like any goalkeeper worth his salt, he never enjoys being beaten especially from distance but Urwin has since accepted that it was a quality strike and has handed credit to Ferreira rather than lay blame at his own door.

And as all Magpies’ fans will testify, Urwin has been one of the club’s most consistent performers over the past few years after arriving initially on loan from Fleetwood Town in 2017.

Vitor Ferreira’s strike from 35 yards swerves past Matty Urwin

“It was just the swerve on the ball which did for me,” revealed Urwin. “The ball just sort of kicked up .

“He literally hit it on the volley if you watch it back and it’s that actually which gets the ball moving.

“Unfortunately, when a ball is hit that well and you get television slowing it down and using different angles, it does look bad.

“They should stop doing that because it’s not good for goalkeepers. You don’t get that time to think.

“The ball moved from one side of the goal to the other and unfortunately I couldn’t get back across. It was unfortunate and at the time I was disappointed.

“Now though I look back and think a lot of goalkeepers would have struggled to have saved it .

“But I feel like I have done a lot for the club since I’ve been here so I am not losing sleep over it.”

Certainly Urwin was an unsung hero in the remarkable cup run with players such as Connor Hall, Harry Cardwell and Elliot Newby grabbing more of the headlines for their goals and performances which saw the Magpies overcome three Football League clubs.

They knocked out League One opposition in the shape of Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United before getting the better of Derby County, of the Championship, who had been weakened by a Covid-19 outbreak, in the third round.

Far a large part of those three games, Urwin was largely redundant especially against a very youthful looking Rams side, while the 2-1 scoreline over Peterborough at London Road was arguably flattering to the hosts.

Jamie Vermiglio’s men could quite easily have walked away with a bigger margin of victory such was their superiority, although it could have ended up going to penalties in the final minute.

Posh striker Siriki Dembele had a great opportunity to equalise but Urwin was alert to thwart the danger despite having very little to do during the 90 minutes.

Urwin said: “We obviously have belief in our ability, but I think that was the most surprising thing about the Peterborough game – I would have expected to have a little bit more to do than I did.

“But it’s imperative as a goalkeeper to keep that concentration especially when you have had very little to do.

“That’s a sign of a good goalkeeper and I was pleased to be able to pull off that save in the last minute.”

It’s certainly been an eventful time over the past year for Chorley.

After being demoted from the National League via a points-per-game system after the curtailment of the 2019-20 early due to the coronavirus crisis, the Magpies went into the new campaign in the NL North with a new-look squad.

Out went some of the old guard who had served the club so well over many years and in came a new younger breed.

After a difficult start, which saw the team lose its opening four league games, the Magpies had really began to gel, culminating in the FA Cup run and a marked rise up the table.

Unfortunately, all that hard work in the league appears destined to count for nothing after clubs in the NL North and South last month voted narrowly in favour of declaring this season null and void due to a dispute over funding in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chorley voted in favour of playing on and talks are currently ongoing with the National League Board over the creation of a new division for this season for those clubs who wish to continue.

Whether that is feasible or not is unclear but the Magpies have maintained their training schedule and have organised a friendly against a Salford City XI today.

Urwin admits he has no idea what lies in wait in the immediate future, but as a footballer he is keen to get on the pitch and play.

“It’s certainly different at the moment,” said Urwin. “I think it’s the uncertainty of it all. Last year, we always knew that the season was going to be cancelled.

“But this time there is a slight chance that we might play again.

“I think it’s great for the lads in general that we have continued to train.

“In the current climate, there is absolutely nothing for us to do.

“All we do is go to work and go home like everybody else so to carry on training has been great and if we can get back to playing that would be really good news.”

Whatever happens in the short-term, Urwin believes the future looks bright for Chorley in the long term.

“It was a tough start for us this season,” he said. “But being involved with the club for a few years, I kind of knew it was always going to be a tough ask for us at the start of the season.

“From last season, there is only myself, Scotty Leather, Elliot Newby and Lewis Baines who have remained at the club.

“We have obviously had a massive overhaul of players compared to the last few years. I have obviously made a lot of friends since I have been here and played with a lot of great players.

“But the manager Jamie Vermiglio, his assistant Andy Preece and the Board decided that there had to be big changes at the club in terms of where they were going to go.

“I am talking in regards to the three-nights per week training and that has started to work, it’s started to come to fruition.

“After the slow start, we had some great results and the lads have really begun to play well together.”

Having experience the FA Cup run and also promotion to the National League, Urwin is confident there are more memories to be made in the future.

Arguably his greatest moment as a Magpie came just under two years ago when he was the hero of two penalty shootouts.

Across the NL North play-off semi-final and final, he saved six penalties to help the club into the top-flight of non-league football.

He believes the club can return there one day soon – and can aim even higher.

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“As a goalkeeper I don’t think it gets any better than that (penalty shootouts),” Urwin said.

“There’s not too many times in a goalkeeper’s career when you will feel that kind of jubilation.

“Luckily, I was able to make those saves and hopefully we can have more of those moments in the future.

“I have loved my time here. I have met so many good people – people I will call friends for life.

“In terms of my career, it’s probably been the most successful period for me in football.

“I will forever be thankful of everybody who has been involved at the club for what has been a really great time of my life.

“To play against a Premier League club like Wolves was a great experience and is one of those things that as a non-league, you might not ever get to experience again.

“I thought the lads really gave a good account of themselves. It’s something that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

“ I would love to see the club get promoted back up to the National League and possibly with a little bit more investment, I honestly don’t think there’s a ceiling on where the club can get to.”

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