Morecambe remain at the foot of the League Two table after a 3-0 defeat at Home Park.
Derek Adams’s hopes of a winning return at his former club were dashed by two goals in the final two minutes of the first half after a red card for defender Ritchie Sutton before Argyle added to their scoreline with virtually the last kick of the game.
The Shrimps started off the game on the back foot with Plymouth dominating possession and chances.
Ryan Lowe’s side forced a string of early corners with skipper Gary Sawyer heading wide from one of them. They then saw Antoni Sarcevic force Mark Halstead into a fine save low to his left before Danny Mayor was denied an opener by the woodwork when his right-foot half volley smashed the outside of the Shrimps’ right post.
Morecambe looked for the counter attacks and they almost took a shock lead when Sarcevic’s slack back pass almost gave Leitch-Smith a free run on goal only for home keeper Alex
Palmer to race from his goal and make a last-gasp clearance. Leitch-Smith was then played in by a smart Alex Kenyon through ball but the striker unfortunately missed the ball completely as he tried a shot on the turn and the chance went begging.
Ironically the Shrimps were beginning to make an impact on the game when it all turned on a red card. With 43 minutes on the clock Plymouth launched a long ball forward and Telford’s pace proved too hot for Sutton who ended up bringing him down on the edge of the box to earn himself a red card.
To make matters worse George Cooper clipped the resulting free kick over the wall to give Argyle the lead.
There was worse to come moments later however when the Shrimps went 2-0 down. In the second minute of stoppage time Joel Grant went down in a tussle with Alex Kenyon for a penalty and Sarcevic sent Halstead the wrong way from the spot kick.
The Shrimps did have a chance to cause the home side a few nervous moments in the second half when Mendes-Gomes played in Lewis Alessandra in the box but his shot was well blocked by on loan Argyle keeper Alex Palmer.
Plymouth went close again when substitute Zak Rudden somehow missed the target from close range but they did add a third in the 89th minute when a left wing cross from Cooper found substitute Conor Grant who slotted the ball past Halstead from 12 yards out.
Plymouth: Palmer; Wootton, Canavan, Sawyer, Joel Grant, G Cooper, Sarcevic (rep Conor Grant 72), Mayor, Moore; Josh Grant (rep Rudden 67), Telford (rep 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 (rep Cranston 78). Subs not used: Buxton, Miller, Da Silva Mendes.
REFEREE: Brett Huxtable