Rochdale bowed out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night after 2-0 defeat to Preston North End at Spotland.
Goals either side of half time saw from Andy Little and Neil Kilkenny split the two teams.
Manager Keith Hill made two changes to the side that lined-up against Peterborough United on Saturday. Peter Vincenti, Bastien Hery, Joe Bunney and Calvin Andrew started ahead of Joe Rafferty, Matty Done, Jamie Allen and George Donnelly.
The visitors opened the game brightest, with a couple of half-chances falling the way of Andy Little. His first chance came after his run into the box was spotted by Josh Brownhill but he hit across his shot and it drifted wide of Josh Lillis' goal. His second came after neither team could get hold of the ball in midfield. It eventually fell to Kevin Davies on the edge of the Rochdale box and after his shot was blocked, Little hit a tame effort into the arms of Lillis.
Rochdale soon found their feet however and as the half wore on they began to grow in confidence and in stature, dominating proceedings. This came through Lund and Hery taking the game by the scruff of the neck in the midfield, with Lund getting the ball back time and time again and Hery orchestrating the play going forward.
Scott Tanser went on a driving run from defence and through the heart of the Preston midfield. He eventually gave the ball to Peter Vincenti on the left hand side but his in-swinging cross was unable to find a blue shirt with Preston on the back foot.
As Preston failed to get the ball clear following a Joe Bunney drive down the right hand side, the ball came to Lund just outside the Preston area. His first time ball found Ian Henderson on the corner of the six yard box, who tried to lift the ball over the goalkeeper with the outside of his boot. His smart effort was bravely blocked by a yellow shirt however, and went behind for one of many Rochdale corners.
Joe Bunney then took his turn to wreak havoc amongst the Preston defence. After he managed to break free from his marker on the right wing he floated in a cross which completely wrong-footed Jamie Jones in the Preston goal but he was unfortunate to see the ball bounce off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
As the half drew to a close, Preston delivered the sucker-punch as Andy Little made it third time lucky and opened the scoring for Preston. They were quick to break down the right after surviving another wave of Rochdale attacking play and after working the ball into the box, Lillis couldn't get enough on the cut-back. He saw the ball come off his finger tips and fall to the feet of Little who tapped the ball home from close-range.
HALF TIME: Rochdale 0-1 Preston North End
Preston doubled their lead two minutes after the interval through a powerful angled drive from Neil Kilkenny. Lillis had done well not to get caught out by a looping shot, managing to tip the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner however, Rochdale were unable to clear their lines and Kilkenny's sweetly struck shot evaded the crowd of bodies in the box and nestled into the far corner of the net.
As the heavens opened, Rochdale had to weather the storm on the pitch and from the sky as Preston came close to making it three. A mis-hit corner deceived the defence and the ball was flicked towards goal only to be cleared off the line by a blue shirt.
Keith hill made three changes on the hour mark taking Calvin Andrew off for George Donnelly, Joe Bunney for Joel Logan and Michael Rose for Joe Rafferty. This saw Rochdale begin to seize the initiative once more with the freshly added pace finding space down the wings.
Vincenti was found in space on the right and had time to pick out a deep cross towards Logan at the back post. As he lined up his shot the ball skipped cruelly of the surface and behind Logan, robbing him of the clean connection he needed to put the ball past Jones and into the Preston goal.
With 15 minutes left to play, Olly Lancashire was forced off the pitch with an injury which left Rochdale to play the rest of the game with ten men. As Preston began to sit back, their numerical advantage began to tell with Rochdale struggling to break through their lines and the game died out to it's conclusion.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 0-2 Preston North End
Man of The Match: Bastien Hery