Plymouth averted a strike from their senior players but there was no change of fortunes for Peter Reid's winless side on the pitch as they went down 2-1 at Burton.
Part payment of overdue wages spared Argyle some embarrassment as they took to the pitch at the Pirelli Stadium - but not their position at the foot of the League Two table with only one point from six games.
Burton eased to their first home win of the campaign with goals either side of the interval by strike partners Justin Richards and Calvin Zola.
Burton had to wait until added time at the end of the first half to break Argyle's stubborn resistance.
Richards still had plenty to do after fastening onto Zola's flick, but brilliantly outwitted his marker before smashing home a left-footed volley.
Earlier, goalkeeper Jake Cole had kept the visitors on level terms with saves from Jimmy Phillips and Zola.
Argyle could have snatched the lead against the run of play in the 43rd minute but Tom Hitchcock sliced his volley well wide.
Zola doubled Burton's lead in the 57th minute, turning smartly to tuck home a close-range shot after Argyle failed to deal with a long throw-in.
Durrell Berry hit the Burton crossbar three minutes later but the visitors had an escape themselves when Zola rattled their woodwork in the 67th minute.
Will Atkinson grabbed a consolation goal for Argyle in added time - their first in more than 400 minutes of league football.
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