A late goal from Championship side Doncaster Rovers denied Rochdale the chance to progress to the second round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, despite a brave performance from Dale at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The 89th minute goal from Bongani Khumalo was the only goal of the game.
As expected, Manager Keith Hill made changes to the Dale starting line-up for the trip to South Yorkshire, with Jack O’Connell, Matt Done, Bastien Hery and Andrew Tutte replacing Michael Rose, Ian Henderson, Peter Cavanagh and George Donnelly in the line-up.
It was another high tempo and energetic display by Rochdale, in what was a fast paced game at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Rochdale were under the cosh at times during the first half, but coped admirably with the threat of the Championship outfit who relied on their big men upfront who found the target on few occasions.
The attacking threat of Doncaster left Dale with little time to settle into the match as they applied the pressure on the Rochdale from the outset, but they reacted well to deal with what came their way.
Three minutes after the first whistle, the quick foot work of Richie Wellens allowed him to weave his way into the area before attempting to send a low drive across the face of goal, but Olly Lancashire, who was wearing the Captain’s armband for the evening, reacted quickly to send it round the upright and out for the first corner of the match.
The intensity continued and the home side won three corners inside the first six minutes, but after failing to make the most of their early opportunities, it was Dale who had the first real chance of the half.
On seven minutes, Hery sent a snap shot in on goal from 20 yards and forced Rovers ‘keeper, Ross Turnbull, to get two strong hands behind the effort to keep it out. From the resulting corner, Scott Hogan had a glancing header blocked on the line by Dean Furman.
Doncaster threatened again without finding the target, before the match hit a bit of lull compared to the high intensity showing which had been on display during the opening period.
On 13 minutes, Reece Wabara, who was making his debut for Doncaster after joining on loan from Manchester City on Tuesday afternoon, sent a shot from distance narrowly past the upright, and it was from the resulting corner that Rovers were kept out by the woodwork.
The towering Chris Brown got a head to David Cotterill’s set-piece, but his effort came off the bar. Cotterill himself then fizzed a shot from 20 yards narrowly past the post five minutes later.
There were claims from Doncaster for a penalty on 19 minutes when Mark Duffy and Tutte went to ground inside the area after a tangle of legs. The referee was quick to say no and awarded a free-kick in Dale’s favour.
The pressure from Doncaster slowed, and after a lull in play, Rochdale went on to have their own opportunities to open the scoring.
Shortly after the half hour mark, Tutte sent an effort over the bar from the edge of the area, while seven minutes later he fired into the side netting after some great link up between play Dale’s attacking line.
Before the interval a short intelligent pass from Hery found the on-running Lund who sent a low ball in on goal. Hogan got on the end of it, but his deflected shot was kept out by an alter Turnbull.
HT: DONCASTER ROVERS 0-0 ROCHDALE
Manager Keith Hill made one change at the interval as Hery made way for Ian Henderson.
With the game at stalemate, both teams went in search of the opening goal, and it was the home side who had the first opportunity of the second half.
A minute after the re-start Lillis was forced into a fine save to push an effort from James Coppinger up and over the bar. It was great save from the ‘keeper who had to react quickly to get a hand to it.
On 52 minutes, Doncaster frontman Brown was kept out by the legs of Lillis, before Coppinger had two opportunities in the space of minute to put the home side ahead. He first of all fired an effort just inches wide of the upright, before a rising drive was denied by the bar.
SUBSTITUTION FOR DALE – HOGAN OFF, DONNELLY ON (63 minutes)
After weathering the pressure, Rochdale came close on 66 minutes from a short corner. In a clever move, Henderson attempted to lift the ball up and over Turnbull, but it was just inches too high and it landed in the top netting.
Sixty seconds later and Rafferty tried his luck from 20-yards, but the effort went narrowly over the bar.
As the half continued, it was a relatively even affair, but it was the home-side who went on to net a late goal to progress to the second round of the competition.
On 80 minutes, Lund had an effort from 20 yards deflected over the bar, before he sent a header wide of the upright on 85 minutes.
But it was Doncaster who took the lead on 89 minutes. Cotterill lofted a free-kick into the box, and Bongani Khumalo glanced a header past Lillis and into the back of the net.
Rochdale went in search of the equaliser, but despite every effort to do so, Vincenti could only look on as he forced Turbull into a finger-tip save to send his header up and over the bar in stoppage time.
It finished Doncaster Rovers 1, Rochdale 0.