Shrewsbury Town 0
by CHRISTOPHER PARSONS
PAUL Wotton's first-half free-kick, his first goal for Argyle in four years, earned the Pilgrims a massive three points in this npower League 2 clash with Shrewsbury.
Wotton, making his 450th appearance for his home town club, lofted in a set piece from the left flank just after the 20 minute mark.
Argyle could, and possibly should, have scored more as chance after chance was denied by the visiting defence.
Shrewsbury threatened only in isolated periods, most notably in the last four minutes of the game, but Argyle stood strong to record a vital win.
Keen to get the defeat at Rotherham out of the Pilgrims' system, manager Carl Fletcher opted for two changes to the side defeated at the Don Valley.
Alex MacDonald, who had suffered from illness throughout the week, was rested in favour of Warren Feeney, who made his first start at Home Park since the 1-1 draw with Crawley on January 21.
Meanwhile, on the right hand side, Joe Lennox was handed his full Football League and Argyle debut. Luke Young, who had started all of the Pilgrims matches in 2012, was left out all together.
Having passed a significant Argyle milestone already this season,&nbsp;Wotton ran out in Green for the 450th time in his career.
The achievement now moves him above the late Johnny Williams in the all time Argyle appearances holders and into fourth place.
Having let the visitors have the first shot at goal, a wayward shot from Marvin Morgan, Argyle set about their opponents and could had two chances to go ahead within the first five minutes.
First, Feeney just failed to get the decisive touch round the on-rushing Chris Neal before Nick Chadwick miscued a cross from Durrell Berry on the corner of the six yard box.
Chadwick had another glorious chance to convert ten minutes later, but chose to control Lennox's cutback rather than blast at it first time. He did get the shot off, though, but saw it saved comfortably by Neal.
The Shrews had scored 23 goals on the road before kick-off and showed just how dangerous they could be when Mark Wright's long, searching cross was just missed by Morgan, attacking at the far post.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Argyle were ahead through milestone-man Wotton.
Having won a freekick of the left hand side, 30 yards from goal, there was only going to be one candidate to strike it.
With cries of 'shoooooot' ringing around Home Park, Wottsy struck it, but instead of leathering with his trademark right foot, he sent a curling ball towards the back post.
The change in tactic worked as the ball floated through Shrews 'keeper Neal's hands and into the back of the net.
Walton then set Home Park pulses racing further when he places Feeney's exquisite cross over the bar before Lennox fired his daisy cutter straight into the arms of Neal.
Just before half-time, Shrewsbury gave the home defence their second scare of the afternoon, with Morgan again the danger man. This time, his header from just two yards out was dealt with by the grateful Jake Cole.
Chris Neal may have made a mistake in the first-half, but he made up for it in the first minute of the second, tipping over Wotton's thunderous drive at point blank range.
Despite the positive restart, the Pilgrims were forced to do a little bit of defending as the half developed, the highlight of which was undoubtedly Durrell Berry's last ditch tackle on James Collins.
The introduction of Juvhel Tsoumou quickly changed things, though, with his pace and strength up front causing Shrewsbury all sorts of troubles.
Whilst his first two sortees were offside, his third showed just a glimpse of that the German striker is capable of as his shot with the outside of the boot, just sailed past Neal's far post.
Argyle were now back on top and again when close through Robbie Williams curling freekick from the right flank.
MacDonald's appearance from the bench spurred Argyle on further when he first fed Tsoumou for a one-on-one effort before he himself cracked the bar with a curling shot from 20 yards.
Despite their dominance, at 1-0, the Pilgrims were always going to be vulnerable and had Cole to thank for a save almost as good as his counterparts - sticking a hand out to block David McAllister's shot from inside the area.
Added time for Argyle fans is always stressful and today proved to be no different when Morgan struck the bar and then, at the death, Cole denied substitute Terry Gornell with another wonderful save.
There were scenes of utter jubilation at the final whistle, as captain Walton led his side around the ground to salute the fans.
One down, nine to go. See you on Tuesday...
Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Jake Cole; 2 Durrell Berry, 5 Darren Purse, 22 Maxime Blanchard, 3 Robbie Williams; 21 Joe Lennox, 8 Simon Walton (capt), 19 Paul Wotton (20 Conor Hourihane 86), 14 Onismor Bhasera; 29 Nick Chadwick (9 Juvhel Tsoumou 53), 11 Warren Feeney (32 Alex MacDonald 71). Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 31 Ashley Hemmings,.
Booked: Chadwick 26, MacDonald 90
Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): 1 Chris Neal; 21 Conor McLaughliun, 2 Jermaine Grandison, 5 Ian Sharps (capt), 3 Joe Jacobsen (8 Nicky Wroe 62); 23 Jon Taylor (24 Terry Gornell 76), 14 Matt Richards, 19 David McAllister, 7 Mark Wright; 9 James Collins, 10 Marvin Morgan. Substitutes (not used): 6 Sahne Cansdell-Sherriff, 25 Ben Smith, 26 Romaine Sawyers.
Booked: McLaughlin 34
Referee: Jock Waugh
Attendance: 5,931 (375 away)