“It was a proud moment but we were left a bit disappointed – we could have won” – Ellesmere’s Arlen Birch reflects on Wolves FA Cup tie with a tinge of regret

Arlen Birch revealed Chorley’s players were left disappointed following their FA Cup exit to Premier League big boys Wolves – a game he believes they could have won.

Vitinha’s screamer 12 minutes into the game settled the clash between the minnows and Wolves, but the National League North side had the better of the chances on Friday night.

Connor Hall twice forced John Ruddy into action, with the former England man the busier of the two goalkeepers.

And Birch, who hails from Ellesmere, believes things could have gone differently.

“We were all proud of ourselves, each other and it was a fantastic experience for the club,” explained Birch.

“But I was talking to one of the lads today and we were saying we were almost disappointed after the game, which may sound strange.

“We’ve lost 1-0 to a top Premier League side, but we’ve had better chances and our keeper hasn’t really had to make a save.

“It is disappointing because if one of those chances goes in then it is a different game, but as it went, it wasn’t to be.”

Birch faced the likes of Pedro Neto, who has been a shining light in Wolves’ below par season.

And the former Everton and Burnley youth defender believes games like these show you how different the levels are as you go through the leagues.

He added: “You’re up against these players and their first touch is just spot on, every single time.

“They rarely lose the ball and it shows the levels.

“But we matched them, and we showed just what we are about.

“These games are so good to be involved in because as a player, you probably learn more in that 90 minutes than you do in 20 to 30 league games.”

Birch and his team mates are now back down to earth after their rollercoaster FA Cup run to the fourth round.

It is back to the day job for some, and they should be preparing for a return to league action on Saturday.

But as it stands, with the postponement of the league for three weeks, their Wolves cup tie could have well been their last game of the campaign.

“From what we’re all hearing, things don’t sound good and that could have been the last game of the season,” added the young full back.

“It will be disappointing on one hand if it is, the uncertainty isn’t great and it just isn’t a nice position to be in.

“We’ve got to wait and see but as I’ve said things don’t sound good.

“But on the other hand, the Wolves game might have been a good way to finish the season, I’m not sure.

“We’ve just got to wait and see now.”

For players individually, as well as clubs, it will be an uncertain time.

Players now face months without football at a level where contracts and deals are always grasped more tightly than in the higher leagues.

Chorley have an option to extend Birch’s contract at the end of the season, but the uncertainty around the end of the season can still bring worries.

“It’ll be a worrying time for all players at this level,” added Birch.

“Chorley have got an option to extend my contract so I’ll just have to wait and see now.

“It isn’t a great position for some players to be in, but it is what it is at the moment.”

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