The Youth Team recorded a thumping 8-0 win over Burton Albion in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Tuesday.
A young Dale squad, containing six under-16 Academy players, were 5-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Morgan Moreland, Musambya Kisimba, Toby Phillips and two from Lewis Bradley.
Phillips and Kisimba doubled their tallies after the break, before Bradley grabbed his hat-trick goal late on to round off a superb display.
Dale dominated the opening exchanges without creating a clear-cut chance, as Louis White and Bradley both had efforts saved, whilst Phillips and under-16s player Louis Clarkson fired off target.
However, Moreland broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, latching on to under-16s player Harry Lee’s ball over the top and finishing calmly to the far post.
From then on, Dale looked like they were going to score with every attack. Joe Wright, one of the three under-16s player to start, fired into the arms of the goalkeeper, before Phillips couldn’t make a strong enough contact on Bradley’s low ball when he looked certain to score.
Moreland had a chance to double his tally and the lead when, in a similar position from which he scored the opener, he saw a shot well saved.
But Dale did make it 2-0 moments later. Goalkeeper Brad Wade’s superb long pass found Bradley, who fired across goal from the right and into the back of the net, via a slight deflection.
A third came five minutes later when Bradley hooked a ball back across goal to the far post when Kisimba turned home from close range.
Phillips made it 4-0 almost straight from the restart when he latched on to a well-weighted through ball and sent a delicious first-time chip over the advancing goalkeeper.
Bradley doubled his tally three minutes before the break when he sent a powerful into the far corner from the edge of the area.
The visitors had a couple of opportunities to get a goal back at the beginning of the second-half, as Emmanuel Shittu fired over and Ciaran Gilligan fired into the arms of Wade.
Moreland tested Burton substitute goalkeeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe and sent another effort over from distance, before Phillips grabbed his second.
Bradley beat his man on the right side of the area and squared a low one across the face of goal for Phillips to tap home.
Clarkson fired off target and Moreland struck into the side netting as Dale continued to dominate proceedings, before Kisimba missed a glorious chance for his second when he turned Bradley’s low ball over the bar.
However, Kisimba made sure the next time a Bradley delivery came his way, turning home from close range after the goalkeeper had spilt a low ball across goal.
Under-16s players Nathan Caine, Luke Nock and Alfie Edmundson all came off the substitute’s bench in the final 20 minutes and helped Dale to their eighth of the afternoon.
Joe Dunne found Phillips in the area who saw his shot take a deflection to the back-post where Bradley made sure of the goal by heading over the line and claiming his hat-trick.
It rounded off a fine performance from the Youth Team, their seventh win in a row in all competitions moving them to the top of Northern Group 5 in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.