ADAMS: WE CAN HANDLE THIS SETBACK
Plymouth have lost three of last four
DEREK Adams hit back at suggestions his side are feeling the pressure of the promotion race after they slipped out of the top three for the first time since September.
Jack Marriott did the damage with a 27th-minute winner to keep Luton’s slim play-off hopes alive.
The Pilgrims have lost three out of their last four games and now Bristol Rovers have leapfrogged them into third place.
But Plymouth boss Adams is remaining upbeat and insists his side have got the mental strength to bounce back.
He said:“When you lose a couple of games, people are going to question you.We have got nine games left and we are still in a very good position.
“The way we played shows that we are not feeling the pressure. We controlled the game and we didn’t manage to find the back of the net.
“It was one of those days when we didn’t have the cutting edge our play deserved. It just feels like we are not getting the breaks at the moment. Hopefully we can go on another run.
“We have got some difficult games coming up but every match is winnable.”
Luton engineered the first opportunity with a slick move that ended with Marriott letting fly with a shot that was well blocked by Gary Sawyer.
Gregg Wylde caused havoc down the right with a turn of pace and his cross was heading into the path of Jordan Houghton until Dan Potts made a crucial headed clearance.
Luton were forced into a change on 15 minutes after Craig Mackail-Smith suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Paul Benson.
Hatters keeper Jon Mitchell got down easily to collect Craig Tanner’s deflected effort as the game continued to lack an attacking spark.
Benson was denied by Luke McCormick at his near post and Marriott’s angled drive crept narrowly past the far post.
The visitors took the lead when Paddy McCourt fed Marriott and he squeezed the ball inside McCormick’s near post for his 13th goal of the season.
Ben Purrington wasted a chance to haul Plymouth level with a tame effort that trickled into the arms of Mitchell.
The Hatters keeper easily gathered to deny Carey after he let rip from the edge of the box before tipping over the midfielder’s long-range effort.
On the stroke of half-time, Luton survived a scare when Stephen O’Donnell glanced Tanner’s cross a fraction past his own post.
At the start of the second half McCormick was almost left red-faced when he flapped at Danny Green’s cross but Glen Rea shot wide of an open goal.
But Plymouth used the escape to launch a blitz with Oscar Threlkeld’s cross landing at the feet of Wylde and his low drive was brilliantly pushed around the post by Mitchell.
O’Donnell blew a chance to seal the outcome on 72 minutes when he scuffed an effort wide after Marriott sent him scampering into the box.
With Plymouth pressing for a leveller, Marriott led a breakaway which ended with the midfielder lashing the ball inches past the far post.
Substitute Jake Jervis smashed an effort over the bar and Tanner repeated the trick with a wild attempt.
Hopes of a late equaliser were dashed when Jervis headed Graham Carey’s cross wide.
Luton boss Nathan Jones said: “I asked for an away performance and we got it. We were magnificent and I am very proud. At times it was a war and my players put in a great shift.
“For all the territory and possession they had in the second half, we had the best chances.
“It is difficult for Plymouth, they have been at the top all season and they are there to be shot at.
“Not many teams come here and win in the manner we did so I am very pleased.”
TIMELY STRIKE: Luton Town's Jack Marriott scores past Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick
YOU WON’T PASS US: No way through. Luton Town's Alan Sheehan and Luton Town's Scott Cuthbert prevent Plymouth Argyle's Jamille Matt from getting to the ball for a shot
HIVE FIVE: Luton Town's Jack Marriott celebrates scoring