BARNTON's international adventure came to a disappointing close at the group stage on Friday.
Although they beat San Marino 1-0, their continued presence in the UEFA Regions Cup had been in doubt since they were beaten 4-2 by the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.
That result, Barnton's first defeat since the competition began as a national knockout this time last year, made the Irish favourites.
Barnton's England team had to beat San Marino well and hope Bosnia scraped past Ireland.
In the event, Ireland drew with Bosnia courtesy of a last-minute penalty!
Ireland battered Barnton for the first 30 minutes and ran up a two-goal lead.
But England fought back towards the end of the half and pulled the scores level after the restart thanks to super-sub Kevin Towey, who netted twice within 10 minutes of coming on.
But the Irish hit back and were irresistible. 'We have never come up against anyone as good as that,' said assistant boss Mark War-burton. 'It was a massive effort to draw level but they were in a different class - the best amateurs in their country who had played six League of Ireland sides in preparation and not lost once.'
San Marino, having never won a game in this tournament, set about trying to stifle and disrupt England's play with play acting, histrionics and time wasting whenever possible.
The tactic frustrated the Mid Cheshire League team as despite their total dominance of the game, they were unable to convert numerous chances. The frustration was increased by the Lithuanian referee who allowed the San Marino team to slow the game with their time wasting.
As the 65-minute mark was reached, Nick Armitage, England manager, made some decisive changes, bringing on Ian Whitfield and Danny Paget.
Within five minutes of making his debut, Whitfield was able to impose himself on the game. Having played a one-two in the middle of the park, he played the ball forward into the San Marino box and watched as the goalkeeper missed his clearance, and the ball rolled into the back of the net.
This gave the side renewed energy to continue pressing home their dominance of the play, but it was to no avail. The woodwork was hit on five occasions and the goalkeeper pulled off two fantastic saves to deny Towey.
The game ended 1-0 and news filtered through that the Irish were losing 2-1 to the hosts. Hopes were dashed, however, as Barnton were told that the Republic of Ireland had been awarded a last-gasp penalty which they had duly converted.
Manager Nick Armitage said: 'Apart from a 30-minute spell against the Irish, I thought we were the best team here. Our international record of winning four and losing only once out of six games for a Mid Cheshire League side is fantastic.'
Rob Goodwin-Davey, secretary of the Mid Cheshire League, said: 'We have been living a dream and it had to end sometime.
'The chance to pull on an England shirt may never happen again for these players and I hope they treasure their shirts and memories for a long time to come.'