Notts County's Academy fell to a first round defeat in the FA Youth Cup tonight at Meadow Lane against Romulus.
It was Romulus with the early running. Anthony Smith tested Joe Searson-Smithard on 3 minutes with a well timed volley from 18 yards, forcing the shot stopper into a good save down to his right.
Romulus almost broke the deadlock just two minutes later, James Brown shooting just wide of the left post from a good position on the edge of the box.
Notts had to wait 21 minutes their first real chance. Superb work from Remaye Campbell freed Harry Gibbons down the left. He was hauled down by a Romulus man for a free kick in a good crossing position. It was taken by Alex Howes towards Sam Osborne, and his inventive backwards header came crashing back off the crossbar with Daniel Griffiths in the Romulus goal firmly beaten. Jordon Richards retrieved the ball and drove it low across the six yard box, but no player in black and white could get on the end of it and it rolled agonisingly away for a throw.
Lamar Graham tried his luck for Romulus on 28 minutes, but his free kick from 30 yards cleared the crossbar by some distance.
Romulus again had a chance from a dead ball on 31 minutes, Notts skipper Dom Brownhill committing a foul 25 yard from goal. Dexter Walter stepped up but his side footed effort was straight down the throat of Searson-Smithard, who claimed it well.
Alex Howes turned brilliantly in his own half two minutes later, taking two Romulus men out of the game in the process. He stormed forward and hit a clean strike from the edge of the box, which Griffiths managed to claim at the second attempt.
Daniel Griffiths pulled off a superb point blank save on 38 minutes to keep Romulus from conceding. A floated cross found Remaye Campbell at the back post and his powerful header was acrobatically palmed away by the visitor's goalkeeper.
There was controversy on 43 minutes as a Nathan Cobain header from a corner was cleared off the line, with the Romulus man seemingly using his hand, but the referee looked unsighted and the decision went against Notts.
Notts couldn't find an equaliser before half-time and the Magpies went in at the break a goal down.
Dom Brownhill had the Magpies' first chance of the second half, striking a free kick from 20 yards which stung the palms of Griffiths.
Down at the other end, Nathan Cobain was in the right place at the right time to clear a ferocious 18 yard strike off the line as Romulus looked to double their advantage from a corner.
On 60 minutes, Romulus' opening goalscorer Anthony Smith received a cut back 18 yards from goal, but fired his half volley over the Notts crossbar.
But he made no mistake three minutes later. A very similar move from Romulus again found Smith in space 18 yards from goal, and his left-footed drive into the bottom corner left Searson-Smithard no chance, to put the visitors two goals in front.
Notts then made an immediate double substitution in an attempt to get back into the game. Remaye Campbell and Harry Gibbons were replaced by Louis Robinson and Ryan Ebanks.
The Magpies were nearly rewarded for their endeavours on 66 minutes. A whipped cross found Osborne, but Griffiths was on hand to acrobatically save to his left.
On 69 minutes, Nathan Cobain sent a free kick over the Romulus crossbar from 20 yards.
But on 79 minutes Notts were right back in it. Tamar Clayton-Naute reacted quickest after Griffiths spilled an initial shot from 20 yards, bursting through to slam home from three yards.
Notts pressed quickly and often in search of the equaliser, but nearly caught on the break on 88 minutes. Searson-Smithard had to be alert to deny Anthony Smith his hat trick. The ball broke to Smith on the back post, and his header from six yards was smothered well by the Magpies' shot stopper.
Three additional minutes were signalled by the fourth official, with Notts putting pressure on Romulus.
But this left them exposed in defence and they were caught by a counter attack, Romulus' James Brown netting a third to end Notts' FA Youth Cup dreams.
Notts: Searson-Smithard, Cobain, Bugg, Brownhill (C), Richards, McCartney, Clayton-Naute, Howes, Campbell, Osborne, Gibbons.
Subs: Hall, Towers, Ebanks, Dearle, Robinson
Romulus: Griffiths, Dawson, Sweeney, Sinclair, Dudley (C), Burke, Burks, Graham, Smith, Brown, Walters
Subs: Thomas, Okorhi, McGinnell, Allen, Briscoe