Ten-man Morecambe’s poor run continued as Plymouth boosted their promotion hopes with victory at the Globe Arena on Good Friday.
Jordan Houghton gave the visitors the lead just before the quarter hour but the game’s main talking point came with moments to go in the first half.
Alex Kenyon went in hard on Carl McHugh with the Plymouth players surrounding referee Webb before he pulled out a straight red card.
Argyle’s second goal, that all but killed the game, came shortly after the interval with Jamille Matt firing home to leave The Shrimps’ League 2 record reading just one win in their last 13 games.
It was a frantic start at the Globe Arena, Graham Carey blazing over a good opening for the visitors just 90 seconds in.
Morecambe then felt Argyle should have been reduced to 10 men but referee Webb waved play when Curtis Nelson appeared to upend Shaun Miller with The Shrimps’ top goalscorer in on goal.
It was the promotion-chasers who were having the best of the chances though, Matt dragging a shot wide on six minutes when he should have tested Kieran O’Hara on his home debut before the Manchester United loanee produced a sharp low save to deny Jake Jervis.
The inevitable arrived on 14 minutes as Derek Adams’ side went in front.
Reuben Reid held the ball up on the edge of the area with it breaking to Houghton who made no mistake with a low right-footed shot that arrowed into the corner and gave O’Hara no chance.
The game settled with Argyle relatively untroubled as Morecambe had more of the possession, Luke McCormick holding onto Tom Barkhuizen’s half volley.
The Shrimps’ best openings of the half came shortly before the interval.
First Lee Molyneux could only head a Shaun Beeley cross wide before Barkhuizen dragged a shot wide after being played in behind by Andy Fleming.
A difficult task got even harder for the hosts a minute before the interval as Kenyon was dismissed.
The midfielder won the ball with a firm, studs up challenge on McHugh, the Plymouth players surrounding referee Webb before he brandished the red card.
Argyle nearly doubled their lead with the last action of the first half but O’Hara held onto Graham Carey’s dipping free-kick at the second attempt.
The visitors didn’t have to wait long for their goal though as it came two minutes after the interval.
Jervis’ cross found its way to Fleetwood loanee Matt who had time to take a touch before hammering past O’Hara from 10 yards.
O’Hara then had to beat away Reid’s shot shortly after as things threatened to turn ugly for the hosts.
As in the defeat at Leyton Orient it was The Shrimps stopper who continued to be in the thick of the action, O’Hara producing a fine save at full stretch to keep out Carey’s free-kick 25 minutes from time.
To their credit, The Shrimps kept battling away with Connor Oliver and Cole Stockton handed debuts from the bench.
The hosts finishing strongly with Kevin Ellison seeing a cross-cum-shot helped onto the bar before Chris Doyle volleyed over the resultant corner.
Ellison then hit the woodwork for a second time in stoppage time as a looping deflection came back off the top of the crossbar, a moment that just about summed up Morecambe’s day.
Morecambe: O’Hara, Beeley (capt), Edwards, Doyle, Conlan, Kenyon, Fleming, Barkhuizen, Devitt (Ellison 46), Molyneux (Oliver 46), Miller (Stockton 76). Subs not used: McGowan, Mullin, Goodall, Wildig.
Booked: Molyneux. Red card: Kenyon
Plymouth: McCormick, Threlkeld, Nelson (capt), Hartley, Sawyer, Jervis, McHugh (Boateng 78), Houghton, Carey (Wylde 69), Matt (Tanner 65), Reid. Subs not used: Dorel, Mellor, Simpson, Purrington.
Referee: David Webb.
Attendance: 2,081 (527 away)