Southampton effectively won promotion to the Championship with a victory at Plymouth which also condemned Argyle to relegation from League One.

Rickie Lambert headed the Saints ahead before Ryan Dickson sidefooted home.

Lambert made it three from the spot after being fouled by Curtis Nelson, before Yannick Bolasie's consolation.

The win means Southampton lead third-placed Huddersfield by three points with one game left and also enjoy a vastly superior goal difference.

It will now take an improbable 17-goal swing on the final day of the season to deny the Saints, leaving the Terriers to try their luck in the play-offs.

Adkins focused on Saints' final game

But, for Argyle, League Two looms after a second successive relegation, one which always looked on the cards from the moment they were docked 10 points in February for issuing a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.

Saints tore into Peter Reid's Pilgrims from the off but had to wait until the stroke of half-time for their breakthrough when Lambert headed home Danny Butterfield's deep cross at the far post.

Any nerves they had were eased further four minutes after the interval when defender Dickson slotted in off the post from Adam Lallana's cross just seconds after Plymouth had survived a goalmouth scramble when Radhi Jaidi's header came back off the upright.

Plymouth players not to blame - Peter Reid

And promotion was all but guaranteed when Lambert coolly fired in his 21st goal of the season from the penalty spot.

David Connolly was denied a fourth when his 30-yard strike cannoned back off the underside of the bar, leaving Bolasie to have the final say when he sidefooted home from 15 yards deep into stoppage time.

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Live Text Commentary

90:00 +6:03 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +5:09

Defending throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

90:00 +4:34

Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by James Paterson (Plymouth) to far post, resulting in open play.

90:00 +4:25

Foul by Ryan Dickson (Southampton) on Karl Duguid (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Karl Duguid (Plymouth) from right wing, passed.

90:00 +3:37

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

90:00 +2:21

Assist (pass) by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) from centre of penalty area.

90:00 +2:21 Goal scored

Goal! - Yannick Bolasie - Plymouth 1 - 3 Southamp'n Goal by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth) right-footed (low centre of goal) from centre of penalty area (12 yards).Plymouth 1-3 Southampton.

90:00 +1:08

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

90:00 +0:25

Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

90:00 +0:09

Foul by Kari Arnason (Plymouth) on Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) from right wing, passed.

87:23

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Carl Fletcher (Plymouth) to centre, header by Kari Arnason (Plymouth) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), missed right. Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

86:23

Handball by Kari Arnason (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Jose Fonte (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

86:02

David Connolly (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

85:27

Foul by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) on Danny Butterfield (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

84:57

Shot by David Connolly (Southampton) left-footed from left side of penalty area (18 yards), missed right. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

84:24

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Dean Hammond (Southampton) to near post, clearance by Karl Duguid (Plymouth).

84:08

Shot by David Connolly (Southampton) left-footed from right channel (35 yards),

82:49

Foul by Jose Fonte (Southampton) on Rory Fallon (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Curtis Nelson (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

81:55 Substitution

Substitution Southampton substitution: Adam Lallana replaced by Morgan Schneiderlin (tactical).

81:04

Shot by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth) right-footed from right side of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Daniel Seaborne (Southampton). Shot by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth) right-footed from right side of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Jose Fonte (Southampton).

76:26

Corner from left by-line taken short right-footed by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth).

76:01

David Connolly (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, passed.

75:18

Shot by Rory Patterson (Plymouth) right-footed from right channel (30 yards), missed left. Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

75:14

Attacking throw-in by Karl Duguid (Plymouth).

73:31

Shot from long distance by Kari Arnason goes wide of the left-hand post.

72:21

Cross by James Paterson (Plymouth), brilliant save (caught) by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

70:58

Richard Lambert (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

69:11

Cross by Ryan Dickson (Southampton), shot by Dean Hammond (Southampton) right-footed from centre of penalty area (18 yards), save (caught) by David Button (Plymouth).

68:30

David Connolly (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Carl Fletcher (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

68:16

Defending throw-in by James Paterson (Plymouth).

65:59

Defending throw-in by Daniel Seaborne (Southampton).

65:25

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

64:46 Substitution

Substitution Southampton substitution: Radhi Jaidi replaced by Aaron Martin (injury).

63:18

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

63:10

Defending throw-in by Daniel Seaborne (Southampton).

60:53

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Carl Fletcher (Plymouth) to near post, clearance by Dale Stephens (Southampton).

60:24

Richard Lambert (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken left-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, passed.

58:38 Substitution

Substitution Plymouth substitution: Simon Walton replaced by Joe Mason (injury).

58:22 Goal scored

Goal! - Richard Lambert - Plymouth 0 - 3 Southamp'n Placed penalty taken right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) (bottom-right of goal), scored.Plymouth 0-3 Southampton.

57:22

Foul by Curtis Nelson (Plymouth) on Richard Lambert (Southampton).

57:01

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

55:51

Attacking throw-in by James Paterson (Plymouth).

54:30

Foul by Kari Arnason (Plymouth) on Jose Fonte (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

53:06

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

52:21

Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

52:12

Defending throw-in by Karl Duguid (Plymouth).

51:12

Free kick crossed right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) from left wing, clearance by James Paterson (Plymouth).

51:12 Booking

Booking Simon Walton (Plymouth) booked for unsporting behaviour.

51:04

Foul by Simon Walton (Plymouth) on Ryan Dickson (Southampton).

50:24

Foul by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) on Dean Hammond (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Danny Butterfield (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

50:00 Substitution

Substitution Southampton substitution: Richard Chaplow replaced by Daniel Seaborne (injury).

48:18

Assist (pass) by Adam Lallana (Southampton) from centre of penalty area.

48:18 Goal scored

Goal! - Ryan Dickson - Plymouth 0 - 2 Southamp'n goal by Ryan Dickson (Southampton) left-footed (low centre of goal) from centre of penalty area (12 yards).Plymouth 0-2 Southampton.

47:57

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton) to centre, header by Radhi Jaidi (Southampton) from left side of six-yard box (6 yards),

46:53

Foul by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth) on Richard Chaplow (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Danny Butterfield (Southampton) from right wing, resulting in open play.

45:09

Foul by Jose Fonte (Southampton) on Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Carl Fletcher (Plymouth) from left channel (25 yards), over the bar. Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

45:01

The referee starts the second half.

45:00 +2:57 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +2:51

Attacking throw-in by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth).

45:00 +1:35

Free kick taken right-footed by Rory Patterson (Plymouth) from right channel (25 yards), blocked by Dale Stephens (Southampton).

45:00 +1:35 Booking

Booking Radhi Jaidi (Southampton) booked for unsporting behaviour.

45:00 +1:25

Foul by Radhi Jaidi (Southampton) on Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth).

45:00 +1:10

Attacking throw-in by Karl Duguid (Plymouth).

45:00 +0:48

Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

45:00 +0:10 Booking

Booking Rory Patterson (Plymouth) booked for unsporting behaviour.

44:38

Assist (cross) by Danny Butterfield (Southampton) from right wing.

44:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Richard Lambert - Plymouth 0 - 1 Southamp'n Headed goal by Richard Lambert (Southampton) (bottom-right of goal) from left side of penalty area (12 yards).Plymouth 0-1 Southampton.

43:46

Foul by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) on Kelvin Davis (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

41:48

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton) to far post, resulting in ball out of play. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

41:13

Foul by Simon Walton (Plymouth) on Radhi Jaidi (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

40:11

Defending throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

39:29

Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

38:43

Foul by Stephane Zubar (Plymouth) on David Connolly (Southampton). Free kick crossed right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) from right channel, clearance by Stephane Zubar (Plymouth).

36:56

Foul by Stephane Zubar (Plymouth) on Richard Lambert (Southampton). Free kick crossed right-footed by Dale Stephens (Southampton) from right wing, resulting in open play. Corner from left by-line taken short right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton). Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

36:11

Shot by Danny Butterfield (Southampton) left-footed from centre of penalty area (18 yards), over the bar. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

36:08

Attacking throw-in by Ryan Dickson (Southampton).

35:07

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton). Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

34:12

Attacking throw-in by Kari Arnason (Plymouth).

34:08

Attacking throw-in by James Paterson (Plymouth).

32:33

Defending throw-in by James Paterson (Plymouth).

32:02

Foul by Richard Lambert (Southampton) on Rory Fallon (Plymouth). Free kick crossed right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) from right wing, clearance by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

30:39

Defending throw-in by Ryan Dickson (Southampton).

30:31

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

27:23

Attacking throw-in by Kari Arnason (Plymouth).

26:40

Defending throw-in by Ryan Dickson (Southampton). David Connolly (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

24:21

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

23:51

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton) to near post, clearance by Kari Arnason (Plymouth).

22:57

Foul by Jose Fonte (Southampton) on Rory Fallon (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) from left channel, resulting in open play.

22:23

Shot by Dale Stephens (Southampton) right-footed from left channel (25 yards), missed left. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

21:09

Foul by Dean Hammond (Southampton) on Carl Fletcher (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Stephane Zubar (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

20:50

Defending throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

19:53

Cross by James Paterson (Plymouth), header by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Kelvin Davis (Southampton). Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) to centre, clearance by Jose Fonte (Southampton).

18:49

Foul by Rory Fallon (Plymouth) on Ryan Dickson (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

18:09

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

15:36

David Connolly (Southampton) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by David Button (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

13:30

Shot by Jose Fonte (Southampton) left-footed from centre of penalty area (18 yards), blocked by Simon Walton (Plymouth). Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton) to far post, clearance by Kari Arnason (Plymouth). Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Dale Stephens (Southampton) to far post, resulting in ball out of play. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

12:45

Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Dale Stephens (Southampton) to near post, clearance by Karl Duguid (Plymouth).

12:23

Foul by Kari Arnason (Plymouth) on Adam Lallana (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) from right channel, passed.

11:32

Attacking throw-in by Kari Arnason (Plymouth).

11:08

Foul by Ryan Dickson (Southampton) on Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth). Free kick taken right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) from own half, resulting in open play.

9:02

Foul by Kari Arnason (Plymouth) on David Connolly (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Jose Fonte (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

8:22

Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) to far post, clearance by Richard Chaplow (Southampton).

7:42

Foul by Adam Lallana (Southampton) on Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth). Free kick crossed right-footed by Simon Walton (Plymouth) from right wing, clearance by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

6:16

Foul by Carl Fletcher (Plymouth) on Adam Lallana (Southampton). Free kick taken right-footed by Richard Lambert (Southampton) from left channel (35 yards), hit wall. Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Dale Stephens (Southampton) to far post, clearance by Yannick Bolasie (Plymouth).

5:02

Goal kick taken long by Kelvin Davis (Southampton).

4:28

Defending throw-in by Ryan Dickson (Southampton).

4:16

Attacking throw-in by Kari Arnason (Plymouth).

3:07

Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Dale Stephens (Southampton) to far post, save (caught) by David Button (Plymouth).

3:00

Attacking throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

2:21

Attacking throw-in by James Paterson (Plymouth).

2:17

Defending throw-in by Danny Butterfield (Southampton).

1:26

Cross by Richard Chaplow (Southampton), header by Radhi Jaidi (Southampton) from left side of six-yard box (6 yards), over the bar. Goal kick taken long by David Button (Plymouth).

0:45

Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Adam Lallana (Southampton) to centre, resulting in open play.

0:21

Rory Fallon (Plymouth) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Kelvin Davis (Southampton) from own half, resulting in open play.

0:00

The referee starts the match.

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