Three first half goals from the Minstermen meant Dale were faced with uphill struggle, but despite a much improved second half performance from Rochdale, the damage had already been done and John Coleman's men were unable to find the crucial third goal which was needed to salvage a point.
The visitors started the game the livelier of the two and took a deserved lead on eight minutes. Although York City failed to create any clear cut opportunities during a dominant opening spell, the danger was always there as they peppered the Rochdale goal, denying the Dale the chance to get a foot hold on the game.
And with eight minutes played, the Minstermen opened the scoring after Rochdale failed to clear a cross from Jamal Fyfield which was whipped into the six yard box. The ball bounced awkwardly inside a packed area and despite attempts by Dale to clear their lines, it fell for York’s Michael Potts who toe poked it past ‘keeper Josh Lillis and into the back of the net.
It was the visitors who came close again seven minutes later, this time Potts sent a drive just inches past the upright after Jason Walker’s glancing header fell at his feet on the edge of the area.
On 17minutes Rochdale had their first opportunity of the half as Jason Kennedy looked to make the most of a poor York clearance. He controlled the ball on his chest before sending a dipping volley in on goal from around ten yards out, forcing ‘keeper Michael Ingham into a finger-tip save.
But just as it looked like Rochdale may force their way back into the game, Dale conceded their second of the afternoon just two minutes later through Walker who hooked it over Lillis and into the back of the net from inside the area.
Shortly before the half hour mark some nice play from Rochdale saw Andrew Tutte send a shot narrowly past the upright after a neat one two with Captain Peter Cavanagh but the short spell of possession was short-lived however and it was York who tested again as Fyfield, who caused problems for the Dale defence throughout the half, sent another menacing cross in on goal which was met by the head of Walker who sent it wide of target.
And on 36 minutes the Minstermen extended their lead further as Potts made it three for the visitors after getting on the end of yet another cross in on goal from Fyfield.
Just 60 seconds after the goal Dele Adebola sent an overhead kick across the face of goal, but there was no-one there to get a touch on the ball as it flew across the area.
Rochdale had the better of the opportunities in the closing stages of the half and came close to pulling one back before the interval but were denied by the woodwork as Terry Gornell’s powerful strike from 20 yards smashed off the inside off the post and back out into play.
The pressure continued, and in added time Phil Edwards sent a menacing ball across the six yard area but despite a packed box, the Dale strike force were unable to get a touch on it as it danced across the face of goal.
There was one change for Rochdale at the interval as Manager John Coleman introduced George Donnelly onto the field of play in place of Dele Adebola.
The break, plus the change, certainly made a difference and Rochdale came out on top at the start of the second half. After a good spell of pressure, Bobby Grant forced goalkeeper Michael Ingham into a save with a header on 49 minutes.
Rochdale continued to apply the pressure in the final third but failed to create any clear cut chances as York City stood strong and defended their three goal lead.
A Dale goal did finally come Rhys Bennett pulled one back for the home side on 62 minutes. The young defender powered though on goal from his own half, took the ball into the box before skipping past several Minstermen and slotting it past Ingham and into the back of the net to score his first goal for the club with half an hour remaining.
Moments later and Donnelly, who added a spark to the side, broke on the counter after a wasteful York City chance at the other end, but despite making his way to the edge of the area, he decided to make the pass wide to his left for the on- running Cavanagh who was flagged as off side.
It certainly was a tale of two halves and Rochdale continued to pepper the York goal as they looked to salvage something from the game. Grant sent a shot in on goal from distance, but despite appearing to take a deflection off the hand of a York City man on the way towards goal, the referee waved played on.
On 82 minutes Gornell sent a left footed volley goalwards which was pushed away by the ‘keeper, before Dale were awarded a penalty just a minute later after the referee adjudged that Donnelly had been felled inside the area. Grant stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and slotted it home to give Rochdale a life line in the closing stages of the game.
Dale continued to throw bodies forward and three minutes later Grant was again involved in the thick of the action as he sent a low drive narrowly past the post.
And deep into stoppage time with what was almost the last touch of the game, Ryan Edwards had a header cleared off the line.
It finished Rochdale 2, York City 3.