Three second half goals saw Rochdale fall to a 3-0 defeat to Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Martin Riley, Matt Rhead and Ryan Tafazolli brought an end to Dale’s six game unbeaten run.
There was one change to the eleven who lined up against York City last weekend, with Scott Hogan handed a place ahead of Joe Bunney, who dropped to the bench. It was Hogan’s first start since sustaining a knee injury at the beginning of last month.
It was a lively first half, with both sides enjoying plenty of the ball, particularly during the opening exchanges.
Dale had the first sight on goal, though, on three minutes as Ian Henderson drove down the middle of play, before striking an an effort over the bar.
It was end to end, and although Rochdale did enjoy opportunities in front of goal, they also were forced to defend resolutely as Mansfield pressured.
On 15 minutes Ollie Palmer drilled a dangerous ball across the face of goal for Darryl Westlake, who hit over the bar from close range.
A minute later and the Stags broke on the counter attack after weak effort from Matty Lund was eventually cleared by the home side. Colin Daniel was through one on one with Lillis, but as the Dale defence tracked back, they did enough to put pressure on Daniel to see him drag a shot wide of the target.
Shortly before the half hour mark Mansfied were gifted an opportunity as both Lancashire and Lillis came to clear a cross from the left hand side. In hindsight the defender should have left it for his ‘keeper as it allowed the Stags to apply dangerous pressure on Dale inside the area, and Palmer sent a header into the top netting from close range.
Two minutes later and Rochdale had their best opportunity of the half as they hit the home side on the break. Hogan was firstly denied by a timely save from Price, who could only clear as far as Henderson on the edge of the area. Hendo was alert to see the ‘keeper off his line and attempted a chip. The wide man had beaten Price, but was kept out by the post.
In the 37th minute some smart link up play between Peter Vincenti and Henderson led to Henderson finding space on the right hand side of play. He fired a shot, from an acute angle, at Price, but his effort was fractionally over the bar.
Dale looked dangerous on the break and four minutes later, Done hit the Stags on the counter attack, finding Lund in a central position, who struck powerful on target effort from distance, forcing price into a save.
HT: Mansfield Town 0-0 Rochdale
There were no changes for either side at the interval.
The hard fought battle seen during the first half continued after the break, and clear cut opportunities were limited for either side as both teams were forced to defend.
Most notably, in the 51st minute, Captain Peter Cavanagh pulled off a timely interception to stop Palmer getting a shot away after Matt Rhead delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal.
A double substitution followed on 66 minutes as Graham Cummins and Jason Kennedy replaced Peter Vincenti and Matty Lund.
But Dale were dealt a blow five minutes later as Mansfield opened the scoring from a corner – Martin Riley heading home at the back post.
Shortly after the Stags took the lead, Manager Keith Hill made his third and final substitution of the game, with George Donnelly replacing Cavanagh. The changed saw Dale switch to an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
But despite the substitutions, the home side continued to threaten, causing problems for Dale, before eventually adding to their tally.
Rochdale did come close to levelling the scoring in the 84th minute after a mishit cross from Rafferty was kept out by the cross bar, but two late goals from the Stags ensured victory for the home side.
Rhead firstly doubled their advantage in the 87th minute as he headed beyond Lillis from a corner which was sent to the back post, before Ryan Tafazolli head home from a free-kick three minutes later.
It finished Mansfield Town 3, Rochdale 0.