NEIL Gill, manager of Albion's youngsters, said after this cup defeat: 'We played better against Middlewich the last time and got beat 2-0. But we're getting closer!'
Dean Williams put Witton ahead, but Joey Roberts headed Middlewich level before the break.
Gary Bryning edged the visitors in front only for Curtis Gill to level before Roberts hit the winner and Middlewich played the last 10 minutes with Lee Murphy in goal after Kevin Whitehead was injured.
Barnton 2 Middlewich Town Res 0: A lacklustre first half ended goalless and boss Mark Came issued a dressing down to Barnton during the break.
But the game was again drifting into mediocrity when Liam McDonald lifted the ball home following good play by Kyle Dyson and Graeme Roberts.
The game was given a last rush of excitement when Tom Swann's injury-time shot squirmed over the line.
* Semi-finals: Middlewich v Middlewich Res; Barnton v Witton Res (ties to be played in February).
Lostock Gralam 8 Winnington Avenue Res 0: Woodward (2), Gibbon and Fullwood put the Grey Lambs in charge by the break. Fullwood completed his hat-trick and Bebbington and Harrison also scored.
In the final group game, Avenue's first team beat Cuddington 3-2.
MCL Saturday: Division One - Barnton v Witton Res, Middlewich v Styal; Two - Tarporley v Lostock; Reserves - Eagle Sports v Middlewich.
Crewe League, Saturday: One - Lostock Res v Sandbach, Avenue Res v Sandbach Wheatsheaf; Crewe FA Junior Shield - Avenue v Sandbach Town.