Rochdale progressed to the next round of the Lancashire Senior Cup on Wednesday evening with a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
A first half goal from George Leigh ensured victory for Dale on a wet and rainy night in Salford.
Chris Beech was forced into making several late changes to his squad selection after four first team players missed kick-off due to getting caught up in a traffic jam on the M62. Three hours and train journey late, the players did arrive and went straight onto the substitute bench.
Youth team players Joel Logan, Andy Cannon, Dimitri Tuanzebe and George Leigh were given the nod in their place and rose to the challenge.
A youthful Bolton side started the game on top in terms of attempts on goal but were kept at bay by the impressive Rochdale defence and goalkeeper Ben Smith.
With 10 minutes on the clock, former Rangers starlet Gregg Wylde rattled an effort wide of the target, before Jack Sampson, who had latched onto the end of a loose ball, was denied by Smith who parried the low drive away.
Wylde, who completed a move to the Wanderers from the Scottish side in the summer, again had an attempt on goal as he drove the ball goal-ward from distance past the upright.
Despite an early spell of pressure, the young Dale side grew into the game and began to play some smart football.
On 17 minutes, a lively Andy Cannon had Dale’s first real opportunity of the match after charging through on goal. His initial shot was palmed back into play by goalkeeper Jay Lynch and he could only send the re-bound wide of the post.
Dale continued to test keeper Lynch with Jamie Allan and Ashley Grimes both having half chances.
And after dominating for much of the match, the break through finally came three minutes from the interval when the youth team’s Leigh fired home to give Dale a deserved 1-0 lead.
Beech made three substitutes at the interval with Cannon, Leigh and Tuanzebe making way for Ian Craney, Craig Curran and Brian Barry-Murphy.
Rochdale were in control in the second half but despite numerous shots at goal were unable to add a second.
Shortly after the re-start, Logan was through on goal in well worked move, but was unable to get onto the end of a through ball which was carrying too much pace. In the end the ‘keeper came to collect.
Two minutes later, and Cannon who was never shy of having a go, hit over the bar from 20 yards out.
Logan was again involved in the thick of the action 65 minutes as he sent an effort past the upright moments before Ian Craney forced Lynch into a fine reaction save.
Curran was through on goal, but passed it to his right for the onrunning Craney who denied only by the quick reaction of the goalkeeper.
Neill Byrne was also kept out by Lynch who tipped the defender’s header over the bar.
In the final moments of the match, Dale goalkeeper Ben Smith was called into action twice in quick succession as he pulled off two great saves after strike from Chris Lester to keep ensure a Rochdale victory.
Rochdale: Smith, Minihan, Byrne, Pearson, Tanser, Allan, Leigh, Cannon, Tuanzebe, Logan, Grimes. Subs: Ashley, Barry-Murphy, Curran, Craney, Putterill.
Bolton Wanderers: Lynch, Riley, Kellett, Dennis, Hampson, Blakeman, Lester, Kelly, Sampson, O’Halloran, Wylde. Subs: Threlkeld, Ole Sievers, McKee, Odelusi, Woodland.