Plymouth 0 Leeds 1
Plymouth’s impressive home record came to an end as an own goal from Marino Keith gave Leeds their first away victory of the season.
The Pilgrims had not lost at Home Park for a year but they were always second best against a determined United side.
The winner came two minutes from the break when a corner was floated into the box and, after a scramble, a cross-cum-shot from United skipper Paul Butler skimmed off the head of Keith into the back of the net.
The goal came seconds after Argyle had failed to clear their lines, despite a goalline clearance from Peter Gilbert to keep out Simon Walton’s thundering drive.
Keith had a chance to level the scores in first-half stoppage time but was denied in a one-on-one situation by United keeper Neil Sullivan.
Argyle huffed and puffed after the break but created few clear-cut chances as Leeds held on for their second successive win.
Sullivan nearly handed Argyle the lead in the early stages when he dropped a cross from left-back Gilbert.
Keith, back in the side at the expense of Scotland international Stevie Crawford, reacted quickly but could only volley the ball over the crossbar.
Plymouth boss Bobby Williamson was then forced into making a change in the 24th minute as Northern Ireland international Tony Capaldi limped off injured, with Lee Hodges taking his place on the left side of midfield.
Leeds, unchanged from the side that beat Coventry 3-0 victory at the weekend, were gradually starting to work their way into the game and missed a golden opportunity to score moments later.
Midfielder Jermaine Wright was sent clear down the flanks with a couple of United players standing in offside positions.
Wright bore down on goal and angled the ball in for Danny Pugh at the far post, but the former Manchester United midfielder could not quite connect and crashed into the upright.
The home side then had returning goalkeeper Romain Larrieu to thank for keeping Leeds at bay just past the half-hour mark.
Larrieu, making his first start for a year following a spell out injured, made a great block to deny veteran Brian Deane with Wright heading the rebound over the bar.
Keith then failed to keep out Butler’s header, although nearly atoned for his mistake when Neil Sullivan parried his shot in first-half injury time.
Plymouth were awarded a free-kick on the corner of the area at the start of the second half, but Paul Wotton’s set-piece failed to clear the Leeds wall.
United went close minutes later as Deane powered a header against the post although the referee’s assistant had already raised his flag for offside.
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell introduced midfielder Matthew Spring for his debut 25 minutes from time as a replacement for teenager Simon Walton.
And it was former Luton star Spring, finally recovered from the groin injury which wrecked his pre-season, that nearly doubled the lead in the 77th minute when his rising drive from outside the box was palmed over the bar by Larrieu.
The Frenchman had to be on his toes twice to deny Wright in the final quarter of an hour, but Plymouth nearly stole a point in stoppage time.
Hodges managed to squeeze a fine shot on the volley through a crowded area, but former Scotland international Sullivan brilliantly tipped the ball over the bar to secure the win for the visitors.