Rochdale fell to their first home defeat under Keith Hill on Tuesday night as three late goals from Accrington Stanley ensured victory for the visitors.
Two stunning strikes from Lee Molyneux and one from Romuald Boco gave Stanley a 3-0 win on a bitterly cold night at Spotland.
Manager Keith Hill opted for three changes to the eleven who started against Barnet in North London on Saturday. Michael Rose, Ritchie Jones and Ashley Grimes were given the nod ahead of Kevin McIntyre, Andy Haworth and George Donnelly who dropped to the bench.
Rochdale had the better of the opportunities during the first half, and after a relatively quiet opening period, Dale began pose a threat as they went in search of a goal.
Accrington saw plenty of the ball during the first five minutes of the match without troubling Josh Lillis and after failing to make an impact with their early possession, Rochdale had the first real chance of the game with seven minutes on the clock.
Michael Rose, who was making his first starting appearance, delivered a first time ball across the face of goal, however no-one was there to turn it in and it darted across the six yard box and out of play.
The next chance of the half fell to Rochdale on 21 minutes following some positive build up play. After a string of successful passes which began to carve the visitors open, the ball was whipped out onto the left flank for Rose who swung it back in on goal for the awaiting Jason Kennedy whose header went wide of the upright from less than six yards.
Four minutes later, Terry Gornell’s flash shot from an angle had beaten Stanley’s Paul Rachubka, but it went just inches wide of the post.
Dale continued to keep the Accrington threat at a minimal as the Rochdale defence mopped up any attacking play in the final third, and it was Keith Hill's side who had another golden opportunity shortly after the half hour mark.
Gornell did well to hold the ball up before laying it off to Ashley Grimes inside the 18-yard-box. The frontman attempted to curl it into to the net at the far post, but again it spun the wrong side of the stick.
On 38 minutes Jones was given a caution for what looked like a 50/50 challenge in the centre of pitch with Michael Liddle. It sparked handbags, and the referee went on to award the visitors a free-kick and show Jones a yellow card.
Two minutes into stoppage time Stanley’s Laurence Wilson attempted a snap shot from distance which drew a low save from Lillis, however he had looked to be heading wide.
HT: Rochdale 0-0 Accrington Stanley
Within the opening ten minutes of the second half, Rochdale had two opportunities on goal but failed to trouble ‘keeper Rachubka.
On 51 minutes Tutte’s strike from 20 yards floated past the upright, while Gornell’s effort which he fired in on goal after cutting inside, was smothered by the Accrington goalkeeper.
Accy went on to enjoy a brief spell of pressure in the Dale third and James Beattie had their first opportunity of the game on 55 minutes with a powerful low shot which forced Lillis to get down and save.
As the half continued it was very much an even affair, but Accrington found themselves in front on 76 minutes through a stunning strike from substitute Lee Molyneux. He picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and fired a thunder bolt into the top corner of the net.
The goal gave the visitors renewed confidence and it didn’t take them long to add their second of the night - Molyneux again with the goal, this time from a set piece. He curled the ball into the back of the net from 25-yards to send Accrington on the way to their first away win since November.
They say goals change games, and despite offering little for much of the game, Accy made it game over on 83 minutes. Lillis palmed an initial shot from Beattie onto the cross bar, but it fell back in play for Romuald Boco who made no mistake in turning it home to ensure victory for the visitors.
It finished Rochdale 0, Accrington Stanley 3.