TWO errors of judgment and a sending-off cost Argyle their club-record seven-game winning away run at Morecambe.
The Pilgrims went behind to Michael Rose’s first-half penalty, given against Gary Miller as players jostled for the ball at a corner.
Then, after left-back Oscar Threlkeld had levelled on the pip of half-time and Jordan Slew had been dismissed for a second yellow-card offence just after the restart, Morecambe won the game with captain Peter Murphy’s header from a corner.
Argyle manager Derek Adams said: "When you give away a penalty, it’s an error of judgment, and when you lose a man at a set-play, it’s an error of judgment. We’re man-marking and we’re losing our men; we’ve done that for the last couple of games now.”
Jordan was sent off after going to ground under challenge from Shrimps goalkeeper Barry Roche, with referee Darren England having deemed it simulation. The second yellow followed one in the first half for a fairly innocuous foul.
“The first one wasn’t a booking, plain and simple,” said Derek. “He’s gone for the ball and he accidentally clipped the man – it wasn’t a booking. The second one, I haven’t seen again; I would have to see it before I can comment on it.
"Obviously the sending-off helps them but, over the game, they had numerous opportunities to win the match.
"I thought we started the game very well for the first ten minutes then Morecambe were the better side and thoroughly deserved to win the match over 90 minutes.
“They could have scored a few more goals today, there is no doubt about it, but they haven’t scored any goals apart from a set-piece and a penalty-kick. They are probably frustrated about that but they have come away with three points.
“We’re probably frustrated we didn’t get a couple of penalties in the game; we aren’t getting anything at this moment in time.”
The result capped a miserable week for the Green Army, coming, as it did, after home defeats to Grimsby Town and Barnet. The losses have cost Argyle their leadership of Sky Bet League Two, and, for the time being at least, the pressure that comes with it.
Derek said: “When you are playing against the leaders in any division, you have got nothing to lose, and that’s happened to us a number of times this season. It’ll happen to somebody else who will be top of the league.
“We’re obviously disappointed. We’ve gone three games losing, when we had been on a 14-game unbeaten run.
“We haven’t defended well enough; we obviously haven’t scored enough goals; we haven’t been good enough to win in the three games. The Tuesday night performance [against Barnet] we deserved to do a lot better; against Grimsby and today, we didn’t.”
The Globe Arena playing surface dictated Argyle’s tactics, with Derek omitting David Fox and David Goodwillie from the starting line-up and substituting Graham Carey during the second half.
“The pitch was a boggy pitch and it was all about giving us a more physical element to the game,” said Derek. “It was a difficult pitch to play on and we knew [Morecambe] would run forward and be physical.
“Graham wasn’t playing well enough today, so I took him off; he wasn’t creating enough. He has done exceptionally well this season - he has scored goals and he has had most assists at the club - but today wasn’t his day. It’s a difficult pitch and you have to play in a different way.”