Dale exited the Checkatrade Trophy at the third round stage after a 4-2 defeat against Manchester City Under-21s at the Crown Oil Arena.
Jim McNulty’s fourth minute header put Dale in front before Magnus Norman saved a Taylor Richards penalty, shortly before the lead was doubled by Stephen Dooley shortly before the half hour mark.
Luke Bolton and Jayden Braaf got City back on level terms, before Braaf and Richards scored in the final ten minutes to seal the win for City.
Dan Adshead Captained the side alongside fellow Academy graduate Aaron Morley, with under-16 Academy player Luke Matheson also starting.
Dale got off to the perfect start, breaking the deadlock inside four minutes from a set-piece.
Morley’s corner went all the way to the far post where Kgosi Ntlhe sent a looping ball back across for McNulty to head home off the post.
Two minutes later, Ntlhe found Matty Done with a ball over the top who fired a powerful effort at goal which was well saved by City goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw.
Rory Holden saw a right foot shot well blocked, whilst at the over end Magnus Norman produced a good stop to deny Richards.
The Dale stopper was called into action in the 24th minute when Jeremie Frimpong’s run ended with him being brought down in the penalty area.
Richards stepped up, but Norman was equal to it and held the penalty kick low to his left.
And Dale made them pay five minutes later by doubling the lead. Dooley received the ball on the left and played a one-two with Holden, before curling the ball into the far bottom corner from 20-yards.
Morley and Rathbone had efforts as the opening period came to a close, but five minutes after the restart they halved the deficit when Bolton closed down Norman’s kick out and finished at the near post.
In response, a Rathbone deflected shot and Morley effort wide from distance sandwiched an effort from Bolton which dipped narrowly over the bar.
The visitors equalised midway through the period when Braaf turned home from close range, despite Norman producing three consecutive saves to keep out City efforts.
Norman then held on well to a fizzing effort from Felix Nmecha and Adshead saw a shot held low by City goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw.
Holden had two shots blocked and Jan Carlo Poveda fired over, before City took the lead when Braaf’s superb individual run through the middle ended with a compose finish beyond Norman.
And City wrapped up the win when Poveda’s stood a ball up to the back post for Richards to nod home from close range.
Holden fired over and substitute Matty Gillam had a shot turned round the post as Dale tried to pull the game back, but it turned out to be the end of their Checkatrade Trophy run.