The Youth Team made it ten consecutive wins with a 2-0 victory over Walsall in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
A goal in each half from Joe Renner and Neil Kuemo secured the win, moving Dale to within three points of leaders Wigan Athletic with two games in hand.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, Dale began to take control of the game. Kuemo saw a dangerous cross turned over the crossbar by a Walsall defender, before Dan Adshead sent a low effort wide of the far post from the edge of the area.
Dale broke the deadlock from a set-piece in the 24th minute. Aaron Morley played a corner short and delivered to the back post, and Renner sent a looping header back across goal and into the far corner.
The lead was almost doubled two minutes later when James Neild headed another Morley set-piece just wide, before Tavares lifted an effort over the Walsall goalkeeper but just wide of the far post when one-on-one.
Tavares was denied minutes later by the ‘keeper when he was found by Adshead in the area, with the stopper turning the ball just wide of the near post.
The Dale striker was proving elusive to the Walsall defence and he was denied twice towards the end of the half, first with a backheel from six yards when under pressure, before a snap-shot was well saved by the visiting stopper.
The visitors had their first effort of the game in first-half stoppage time, when Dale goalkeeper Harrison Davison-Hale saved with his legs before the defence cleared from danger.
Dale gave themselves a two-goal cushion three minutes after the restart, and it came from another set-piece.
Morley’s delivery caused panic in the Walsall area and the ball fell to Kuemo, who with his back to goal, turned buried his effort into the corner from eight yards.
Dale continued their ascendancy and were in search of a third, with Adshead’s shot saved by the Saddlers stopper, and Luke Matheson’s cross turned over his own crossbar.
Neild tried his luck from 35-yards and landed his effort on the roof of the net, before he followed it up with another two efforts from set-pieces. He generated enough power to force the goalkeeper in a flying save to his left, before having another header stopped on the line.
The visitors created a couple of chances in the final ten minutes as they looked to take something from the match, with a Davison-Hale stop falling to a Walsall man who somehow managed the crash against the crossbar from six-yards.
Substitute Lewis Bradley sent an effort wide with five minutes remaining, before Renner produce a superb goal-saving block to preserve Dale’s clean sheet with two minutes remaining, and secure their tenth consecutive win.