Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Peterborough United - Heartbreak for nine-man Posh after injury-time winner
Peterborough United suffered a blow to their play-off hopes after conceding an injury-time winner to rivals Plymouth Argyle.
Graham Carey stuck the match-winning penalty two minutes into stoppage time after referee Craig Hicks penalised Jack Baldwin for a foul in the area.
Posh ended the match with nine men as Steven Taylor was given a second yellow card for trying to delay the spot kick while Liam Shephard had been given his marching orders 15 minutes from time for violent conduct on Carey.
However, video replays on social media suggested the Shephard red card was very harsh.
The dramatic finale took the shine off Jack Marriott’s 32nd goal of an incredible season after the striker scored his seventh goal in seven games with another fine lob.
The early goal looked like it might push Posh towards back-to-back wins and just one defeat in 12, but Ryan Taylor equalised after 27 minutes for the home side before Carey’s late winner.
Plymouth take Posh’s spot in the play-offs after their sixth straight win at home, with Posh slipping from fifth to eighth.
The visitors had suffered a blow before kick-off with the news that Marcus Maddison had rolled his ankle in training on Friday and had failed a late fitness test.
George Cooper and Anthony Grant came into the side, with Joe Ward also missing out.
And it was Cooper who provided the assist for Marriott to give Posh a ninth minute lead.
Three minutes after Plymouth had appeals for a spot-kick turned down as Carey went down under a challenge from Grant, Marriott raced onto Cooper’s pass and executed a wonderful lob over goalkeeper Kyle Letheren.
Sonny Bradley fired well wide of the target for Plymouth on 12 minutes before two minutes later some excellent football between Grant, Gwion Edwards and Leo Da Silva saw the latter pick out the onrushing Cooper 12-yards from goal, but his shot just cleared the crossbar.
Jamie Ness fired over on the half-volley moments later after Steven Taylor could only half clear a Carey corner kick, but the home side did level on 27 minutes as a cross from the left by Gary Sawyer was headed home at the near post by Ryan Taylor.
Ness was then cautioned for a very late kick on Cooper who soon saw an effort clear the crossbar from 30 yards after good play in midfield from Chris Forrester and Grant.
Bradley sent a header over the bar from a deep Carey corner kick near the end of the first-half, and Argyle made a strong start to the second period with Lameiras clipping the outside of the post from a deflected effort from 20 yards.
The referee then became more involved with Shephard cautioned for a heavy challenge before Cooper was booked for dissent after being fouled.
Not long afterwards Shephard received his marching orders for catching Carey off the ball.
With Posh down to 10 men goalkeeper Conor O’Malley was forced to produce a superb stop with his legs to deny substitute Joel Grant on 83 minutes, then three minutes before injury time goalscorer Taylor was cautioned for catching Baldwin in an aerial duel.
With time running out Posh failed to hold on for a crucial point as Baldwin was adjudged to have committed a foul following an aerial duel and the referee pointed to the spot.
Taylor was then shown a second yellow card for delaying the taking of the spot-kick, which was dispatched with aplomb by Carey.
The match-winner also flashed a shot wide and Ruben Lameiras was denied by the body of O’Malley before the referee blew the full-time whistle.
Plymouth: Kyle Letheren, Oscar Threlkeld, Zak Vyner, Sonny Bradley, Gary Sawyer, Moses Makasi (sub Joel Grant, 82 mins), David Fox, Jamie Ness, Graham Carey, Ryan Taylor, Ruben Lameiras
Unused substitutes: Gary Miller, Yann Songo’o, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Paul Paton, Michael Cooper, Cameron Sangster
Posh: Conor O’Malley, Liam Shephard, Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Andrew Hughes, George Cooper (sub Danny Lloyd, 75 mins), Anthony Grant, Chris Forrester (sub Joe Ward, 67 mins), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Gwion Edwards (sub Michael Doughty, 85 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Jonathan Bond, Junior Morias, Jermaine Anderson, Lewis Freestone
Goals: Plymouth - Taylor (27 mins), Carey pen (90+2 mins)
Posh - Marriott (9 mins)
Sending-off: Posh - Shephard (violent conduct), Taylor (second yellow card)
Attendance: 10,923 (385 Posh)