Rochdale 2 Town 1Rochdale: Conrad Logan, Joseph Rafferty, Jimmy McNulty, Matthew Lund, Calvin Andrew, Callum Camps (c) (Jamie Allen), Oliver Rathbone (Nathaniel Mendez-Laing), Keith Keane, Steven Davies (Joseph Thompson 57), Joseph Bunney, Ian Henderson
Subs: Joshua Lillis, Niall Canavan, Reuben Noble Lazarus, Andrew Cannon
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Olly Lancashire, Ian Black (Gary Deegan 76), Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo, Ivan Toney, Louis Dodds, Junior Brown (George Waring 76), Jack Grimmer, Adam El-Abd (c)
Subs: Mark Halstead, Jim O'Brien, Dom Smith, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Ethan Jones
Ref: R Clark
Assistants: B Cropp and B Khatib
Fourth Official: M Duncan
Attendance: 3594 (402 from Town)
Paul Hurst had Adam El-Abd, Gary Deegan and Ivan Toney back from suspension ahead of the game with Rochdale. In the end he made three changes with Adam El-Abd, Ivan Toney and Shaun Whalley coming into the starting line-up while Jim O'Brien, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Dom Smith drop down to the bench.
Town had a good chance within 2 minutes of the start after Leutwiler kicked the ball long, Toney was up well and headed onto to Dodds, he flicked the ball to put Whalley in on goal, he took a touch but Logan was out quickly and down for an important block.
It was Dale though who got the early goal moments later, the ball was played in behind the Town defence to find Henderson and his pace took him in on goal, and he kept his cool to calmly slot the ball past Leutwiler to make it 1-0 to the homeside.
Whalley was showing great pace to get at the homeside and when Dodds played a lovely ball to put him in behind the Dale defence, the angle was tight but he managed to chip a shot across the goal that beat Logan but it didn't have the curl to take it in at the backpost.
At the other end Dale were showing what a good attacking side they are and were causing all sorts of problems for the Town defence. They were chasing down quickly, closing down space and getting balls into the box but the Town defence were doing enough to keep them at bay.
Dale got a second from a set piece, the ball was played into the box by Bunney, Town cleared the ball but it came back in, Leutwiler parried the ball but it came back at him, the Town stopper looked to have the ball in both hands as Davies got a foot in to turn the ball home but ref Clark was on the spot and saw nothing amiss and the goal stood.
Dale's quick football was creating some great openings and when the ball was played into Davies on the edge of the box he did well to head it down to Rathbone, he hit a nice volley in on goal but Leutwiler was equal to it with a good diving save to parry the ball away.
At the other end Town were still creating good openings and when Sadler played the ball out of defence to find Toney, he went down under the challenge but kept the ball and played it to Dodds, he then played in Whalley who had a good run in on goal but his ball was blocked and the chance was gone.
The second half continued off from where the first ended with both sides pushing and looking to get at the opposition. There were chances and possession around both goals but there were no clear cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Town were still trying but things were a little flat with moves breaking down, Whalley picked the ball up and came inside, he continued his run before Ogogo took over and pushed forward, he played a one two with Toney but the Town forward had come back from an offside position and the move broke down.
Town created another good opening after they built down the left, Sadler and Brown were on the ball and in the end it was Brown who delivered a good ball into the Dale box, Toney got his head to it but it was just wide of the target.
The chances were still dropping to the visitors and a long clearance down field found Toney in behind the Dale defence in space, he got his shot off but it lacked power and Logan made the save, the balls momentum took it towards the goal but Dale had a covering defender and they were there to clear the danger.
On 76minutes Paul Hurst made his first change with Ian Black and Junior Brown making way for George Waring and Gary Deegan as Town looked to get something from the game.
There was a let off for Town with just over 10 minutes remaining, Dale broke with pace and to cause Town problems, the ball was fired in low to the backpost and there was Bunney in space but somehow he put his shot the wrong side of the post.
The front two combined for Town with 5 minutes to go to get Town hope, the ball was with Deegan and he played it to Waring, he then threaded it though to Toney who got in behind the Dale defence and then kept his cool to put the ball past Logan to make it 2-1.
Town had a good chance in added time after Toney picked the ball up out wide, he came took a touch and then hit a cross into the Dale box, Ogogo chested the ball down and there was Dodds to stab a shot in but it was just wide of the target.