MacDonald fires Pilgrims to brink of safety
Plymouth's Alex MacDonald scored the only goal of the game to see off Aldershot as Carl Fletcher's side made it six games unbeaten to move eight points clear of the relegation zone.
The on-loan Burnley forward saw his right-wing shot deflect off left-back Anthony Straker and loop over goalkeeper Jamie Young in the 14th minute.
Aldershot dominated the first half and almost went ahead just before the opening goal when Argyle midfielder Paul Wotton dived in to block a goalbound shot from Aaron Morris.
Recalled Argyle assistant manager Romain Larrieu - back in for injured first-choice `keeper Jake Cole - made a breathtaking 35th-minute save to palm over Peter Vincenti's volley as the visitors continued to press for a leveller.
Larrieu used his legs to deny Adam Mekki after the break as the pacy winger dispossessed Argyle left-back Robbie Williams.
Larrieu then flapped away Danny Hylton's 25-yard free-kick but needed assistance from his defence soon after having been rounded by the Shots marksman.
Hylton could then only watch as his header came back off a post in the 73rd minute as he helped on Ben Herd's free-kick, all but extinguishing the visitors' outside hopes of snatching a play-off place.