Northern Ireland played in front of a record crowd for a home women's international on Tuesday night, but the attendance figure was the high point of a bruising evening as a superb England side ran out 5-0 winners.
The result means that NI can no longer qualify for the World Cup, although this was already a slim possibility before kick-off.
Kenny Shiels' team didn't lack for heart, effort or commitment but they were unable to stop one of the top teams in the world from putting them to the sword.
Goals from Ella Toone, Lucy Bronze, Georgia Stanway and a brace for Lauren Hemp were without reply from the home side.
Northern Ireland kept things tight in the first half with some quality defending. The side showed the benefit of recent training camps as they managed to keep one of the games premier sides to one goal before the interval.
The game opened up in the second half as NI tired, and England were able to slot in four goals in that period.
There have been big steps taken by women's football in Northern Ireland, despite the bitterness of this defeat.
Tuesday night's crowd surpassed the previous record attendance by over 10,000.
As a team, Northern Ireland look more organised and clear in their gameplan than ever.
If the 5-0 result showed the gulf between NI and the top of the game, then recent months have perhaps displayed a path forwards.
The passion and dedication of the players and fans in Windsor park is something to build on for the next qualification campaign.