Derby County 2
Buxton 40, Addison 90
Judge pen 17
A LAST-MINUTE goal from Rams centre-back Miles Addison cost Argyle a point as they slipped to their traditional one-goal defeat at Pride Park.
Alan Judge had given Argyle the lead midway through the first half when, having won a penalty in following up Jamie Mackie's enterprise, he converted the spot-kick himself.
The Pilgrims were pegged back in the 40th minute as Jake Buxton, who had fouled Judge to give away the go-ahead penalty, made amends by equalising from a poorly cleared corner.
Then, in a see-saw match in which neither side deserved to win or to lose, Derby had the final word when Addison headed home a late corner.
Argyle manager Paul Sturrock had made two changes from the side that started the previous Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat by Cardiff City, one each in defence and midfield. That meant striker Alan Gow began among the replacements after his goalscoring debut from the substitutes' bench against the Bluebirds.
Hungarian international centre-back Krisztián Timár was left back at Home Park, with his place in the centre of defence going to debutant Kári Árnáson, while Cillian Sheridan's absence with a dead leg allowed Karl Duguid to come into the first XI as Luggy shuffled his pack.
Duguid took his familiar place in the centre of a four-man midfield in support of a strike-force of Rory Fallon, in a slightly withdrawn role, and Mackie.
In contrast to Tuesday, when Gow had been the only attacking option among the extra seven, Luggy also included both Steve MacLean and Ashley Barnes in reserve.
Derby's initial line-up also showed two differences, in their case to the team that had drawn 0-0 at Blackpool. The two omitted were Kris Commons and Rob Hulse, which says something about manager Nigel Clough's confidence in the rest of his squad.
Into the picture came Steven Davies and Tottenham loan player Jake Livermore, a move that meant Steve Davies was the Rams' lone raider. He was supported by, among others, Gary Teale, who spent three months on loan at Home Park from Derby the season before last.
As is their way, Argyle again looked more comfortable away from home than they had at Home Park in midweek, and played more of the opening half in and around the home side's box, than their own.
Mackie, Fallon and the impish Judge all showed lively touches before the increasing pressure led to the first chance of the game when Derby's defence could only just clear an Argyle attack and the ball fell to Duguid for a shot that was blocked off.
Unfortunately for the Greens' midfielder, he was also blocked off and required much attention on the sidelines. He re-entered the pitch somewhat surreptitiously and nearly embarrassed Derby, who had taken their collective eye off him and allowed him to embark on a run that was snuffed out only at the edge of the Rams' box.
Almost immediately afterwards, the Greens reaped the reward their early enterprise had merited. It came from a swift move, Jim Paterson lofting a ball from deep inside his own half over the static Derby defence for Mackie to run on to.
The Argyle number eight outsprinted two players and fired off a low shot across goalkeeper Stephen Bywater. The ball came back off the goalpost, and Judge was fouled by Buxton as he attempted to follow up.
At the very same end where Paul Wotton infamously slipped and lost his reputation as a 100 percenter from 12 yards a few seasons ago, Judgy kept his head, and his balance, to fire the Pilgrims ahead.
Argyle should have felt the home side's pressure at that point but, through a combination of Derby's nicey-nicey football and their own resolve, they were able to control their lead quite comfortably.
Indeed, just after the half-hour mark, the Greens came close to scoring again when Mackie turned his marker in the penalty-box D and shot on the spin to send Bywater scampering across his goal only for the ball to drift wide.
Marcel Seip survived a hugely optimistic shout for a penalty, borne of desperation rather than expectation, before the livewire Mackie was again in the thick of things, firing in from long range a shot that was deflected for a corner.
The pressure that rookie referee Craig Pawson came under thereafter from the Derby players and home support might have contributed to the Rams' leveller five minutes before half-time.
The goal started from an overly generous award of a free-kick against David McNamee for a foul on his countryman Teale from which Davies's header was brilliantly saved by Romain Larrrieu.
The ball was not adequately cleared, however, and Buxton was still in the danger area seconds later to turn home Savage's drive.
If that was rough justice on the Pilgrims, a second before half-time would have represented getting away with murder but it took Duguid's watchfulness on the goal-line to ensure that another header from a corner, by Addison, did not creep in under the crossbar.
Luggy was forced into a change at the interval, losing McNamee to injury. Duguid moved to right-back, Paterson slipped inside from flank to middle, Judge swapped wings, and Chris Clark came on in the wide right role.
Duguid, though, lasted only five minutes before he gave way to Luke Summerfield and Clark was reshuffled to right-back, Judge swapping wings again,
At the same time, Hulse came on for Davies, when, in a carbon copy of what had happened at Crystal Palace two weeks earlier, the home side's first-choice striker was stretchered off.
When the dust had settled, Argyle produced a sweeping move that ought to have seen them retake the lead. Summerfield and Mackie were both involved as the ball was worked in from the left before Fallon failed to connect properly but nevertheless saw his effort dribble only just wide.
After that, the Greens rather lost the way to goal and had to endure a deal of Derby poking and probing, to say nothing of a glut of corners, but the thin green line stood firm(ish). A Hulse header that he flicked wide across the goal was the pick end-result of a worrying bunch of half-chances that Derby created.
The arrival of Commons, with 17 minutes to play, heaped on the agony, although it was not all Derby.
Fallon had a shot deflected after some neat approach work, and Argyle's strength and stamina began to show itself, not for the first time this season.
Mackie survived a tug from Buxton to still get in a shot that Bywater saved well before the same Argyle man should have sewn things up with a one-on-one.
He did everything right to get himself in behind the Derby defence and in position for a shot, but just could not finish off as Savage came in to sweep up.
That agony was multiplied a thousand times by Addison's winner a few seconds later.
Derby County (4-5-1): 1 Stephen Bywater; 2 Paul Connolly, 5 Miles Addison, 17 Jake Buxton, 21 Dean Moxey; 7 Lee Croft (10 Kris Commons 73), 24 Jake Livermore (4 Paul Green 41), 8 Robbie Savage (capt), 16 Stephen Pearson, 11 Gary Teale; 20 Stephen Davies (9 Rob Hulse 54). Substitutes (not used): 3 Jay McEveley, 6 Dean Leacock, 13 Saul Deeney (gk), 14 Shaun Barker.
Booked: Addison 77.
Argyle (4-4-2): 1 Romain Larrieu; 16 David McNamee (6 Chris Clark half-time), 11 Kári Árnáson, 19 Marcel Seip, 18 Gary Sawyer; 25 Alan Judge (22 Reda Johnson 88), 4 Carl Fletcher (capt), 2 Karl Duguid (20 Luke Summerfield 51), 3 Jim Paterson; 8 Jamie Mackie, 14 Rory Fallon. Substitutes: 9 Steve MacLean, 23 Kyle Letheren (gk), 24 Ashley Barnes, 26 Alan Gow.
Booked: Clark 79, Fletcher 90.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).
Attendance: 26,186 (526 away).