MORECAMBE suffered a 3-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.
In Derek Adams’s first return to his former club the Shrimps produced a solid start to the game before it all went wrong two minutes before half time when Ritchie Sutton was sent off for a last man foul on Dom Telford and the home side scored twice in quick succession with a George Cooper free kick and an Antoni Sarcevic penalty.
The 10 men worked hard to keep Argyle out in the second half but they were undone for a third time in the final minute when Connor Grant slotted home Cooper’s left wing cross.
Adams made two changes to the side that drew with Carlisle with A-Jay Leitch-Smith chosen up front and Carlos Mendes-Gomes making his first start of the season in midfield in place of the ill Aaron Wildig.
The Shrimps were forced to defend from the start with Sarcevic having one shot superbly saved by Mark Halstead and the home side forcing a string of corners.
Skipper Gary Sawyer headed wide from one of them while Danny Mayor saw his right-foot volley hit the outside of the Shrimps’ right post. Sarcevic also went close with a low angled drive which was far off the target.
The Shrimps continued to look for the counter attacks and they almost took a shock lead when Sarcevic’s back pass almost found Leitch-Smith but Argyle, ‘keeper Alex Palmer got there just in time to make a scrambled clearance.
The Shrimps were beginning to make an impact on the game until Telford was brought down by Sutton on the edge of Morecambe’s penalty area.
Referee Brett Huxtable awarded the free-kick and then sent-off Sutton with Cooper rubbing salt into the wounds by clipping the free kick over the wall.
Then, in the second minute of stoppage time, the Pilgrims extended their lead to 2-0 from the penalty spot.
Joel Grant went down in a tussle with Alex Kenyon and Sarcevic sent Halstead the wrong way from the spot kick.
Argyle went on the attack almost immediately at the start of the second half, with Cooper seeing a free kick diverted inches wide and Telford clipping a shot wide after creating an opportunity for himself.
The Shrimps almost reduced their deficit in the 68th minute when Lewis Alessandra was picked out by a pass from Mendes-Gomez but his effort was well saved by Palmer.
The Shrimps’ brave resistance ended in the 90th minute when a low cross from Cooper picked out Conor Grant, who produced a cool finish.
ARGYLE: Palmer; Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer; C Grant; G Cooper, Sarcevic (rep Conor Grant 72), Mayor, Moore; J Grant (rep Rudden 67), Telford (Clarke 82). Subs not used: M Cooper, Riley, Taylor, Randell.
MORECAMBE: Halstead; Tanner, Sutton, Old, Conlan; O’Sullivan, Kenyon, Brewitt; Mendes-Gomes (rep Ellison 85), Leitch-Smith (rep Stockton 82), Alessandra (Cranston 78). Subs not used: Buxton, Miller, Da Silva Mendes.
REFEREE: Brett Huxtable