Plymouth Argyle 2 Carlisle United 0: Carlisle United slid to a third straight league defeat as Plymouth scored in either half at Home Park.

Joel Grant forced a close-range opener on 22 minutes and Antoni Sarcevic doubled their victory margin in added time.

United almost found a way back into the game early in the second half when both Jack Iredale and Byron Webster hit the crossbar.

But the defeat, which leaves the Blues 20th in League Two and five points above the relegation place, will do little to ease the pressure on manager Steven Pressley.

The hosts went in front when Grant escaped recalled Jon Mellish to meet George Cooper's cross at close-range.

Keeper Adam Collin got something on the finish but couldn't keep it out.

Mellish was starting amid three changes which saw a league debut for defender Jarrad Branthwaite at 17 years and 114 days, midfielder Stefan Scougall also into the side with Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Mo Sagaf and Christie Elliott dropped from last Saturday's side.

The goal came during a spell of Argyle pressure which moments earlier had seen Collin deny Sarcevic at point-blank range.

Zak Rudden had earlier shot wide as the hosts got on top following an even opening period which saw early United attempts from Mike Jones and Jack Bridge, the latter shooting just wide from the edge of the box.

After the opening Argyle strike, though, Carlisle offered very little in an attacking sense with only Mellish, who had a goal struck off for offside, threatening to level.

Otherwise the hosts had plenty of the ball carving more clear-cut changes, United having to defend a number of balls into their box with Cooper influential on the left of the home midfield.

Carlisle threatened to come back into things in a livelier spell after the break, as Iredale saw a cross strike the top of the bar and Olufela Olomola had a shot deflected wide.

They then went even closer as centre-half Webster attacked a Stefan Scougall corner but saw his effort come back off the underside of the bar.

They struggled to carve out serious chances after that, though, despite the arrival of Elias Sorensen from the bench.

Plymouth were also unable to test Collin much from there, the hosts denied a penalty when Rudden went down under the keeper's challenge, while Pressley brought on Mo Sagaf and Nathan Thomas in search of inspiration.

Thomas fired a shot at keeper Alex Palmer before, on 89 minutes, a long Collin clearance was anticipated by Iredale, who cut in from the left with a good chance.

He couldn't, though, beat Palmer and then Plymouth made the points safe in the second of four added minutes.

Sub Byron Moore was the creator and when he found Sarcevic in space outside the D, the latter fired past Collin into the left of the net.

It means United have now taken one point from their last 14 league visits to Home Park, Plymouth moving up to eighth as Carlisle's problems remain.

Plymouth: Palmer, Riley, Sawyer, Canavan, Wootton, Edwards, McFadzean, G Cooper (Clarke 79), Sarcevic, Joel Grant (Josh Grant 87), Rudden (Moore 68). Not used: M Cooper, Aimson, Randell, Wilson.

United: Collin, G Jones, Mellish, Webster, Branthwaite, Iredale, M Jones, Scougall (Sagaf 72), Bridge (Thomas 79), Olomola (Sorensen 58), Hope. Not used: Gray, Elliott, Loft, Knight-Percival.

Ref: Alan Young

Crowd: 8,446 (139 Carlisle fans)