Rochdale continued their preparations for the start of the League One campaign on Saturday with another work out against Championship opposition.
Middlesbrough were 3-1 winners, netting twice from the spot.
Adam Reach opened the scoring with an excellent volley after just four minutes, before Kike extended Boro’s lead eleven minutes later with a penalty.
Ian Henderson halved the deficit shortly before interval, but the visitors again opened up a two goal cushion as Lee Tomlin netted from the spot just sixty seconds later.
There were several changes to the side who started against Bolton Wanderers mid-week – Josh Lillis started in goal, while Dale’s newest signing Calvin Andrew was also handed a place in the starting line-up. There were also starts for Jamie Allen, George Donnelly, Ian Henderson, Matty Lund, Joe Rafferty and Olly Lancashire. Matty Done, Bastien Hery and Scott Tanser made up the eleven.
It was another warm and sunny afternoon at Spotland, with players having to contend with temperatures in the 20s.
A tough test was expected against a strong Middlesbrough side and Boro pressured Dale from the start, giving Keith Hill’s side no time to settle into the game.
Just a minute into the match they had their first opportunity on goal. Adam Reach sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal, which was flicked narrowly past the upright by Kike.
After a bright start from the visitors, they took the lead as Reach lashed a home a stunning volley from the edge of the area on four minutes.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 0-1 MIDDLESBROUGH (Reach, 4 mins)
Boro continued to cause problems for Dale, and in the fifteenth minute they were awarded a penalty after Kike was pulled to the ground by Rafferty. Kike stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and slammed an assured strike into the bottom corner of the net.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 0-2 MIDDLESBROUGH (Kike, 15 mins)
Dale’s first substitution of the match followed in the 27th minute as Peter Vincenti replaced Bastien Hery.
Shortly after the half hour mark Boro tested again, this time Lillis pulling off a fantastic save to deny Lee Tomlin from a set piece.
Boro had been awarded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box, which Tomlin lifted up and over the Dale wall. It looked to be heading in at the post, but Lillis was on hand to palm the ball away.
Some brilliant movement from Rochdale saw them half the deficit, before conceding a third goal just sixty seconds later.
Andrew sent an excellent ball across the face of goal to the back post, where Hendo slotted the ball beyond ‘keeper Thomas Mejias.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-2 MIDDLESBROUGH (Henderson, 42 mins)
Just 60 seconds later, however, Middlesbrough retained their two goal advantage as they netted a second penalty.
Lancashire, who looked to have won the ball, was harshly penalised for bringing down Tomlin inside the area. Tomlin took the spot kick, firing a powerful effort into the bottom corner of the net.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-3 MIDDLESBROUGH
HT: ROCHDALE 1-3 MIDDLESBROUGH
Rochdale started the second half at a much higher tempo, asking more of Boro, and within sixty seconds of the re-start, Donnelly tested Mejias from the edge of the area - he was denied by the ‘keeper who saved well.
It was better from a livelier Dale, but they were limited to just a couple of opportunities on goal. A Lund effort from 20 yards was collected by Mejias, before Hendo sent a volley over the bar nine minutes later following some excellent movement.
Boro then had two opportunities in quick succession through Reach, both of which were kept out by Lillis.
Firstly, Reach strode forward, snaking his way through the Dale defence, but after trying to beat one too many, he was snuffed out by the ‘keeper who got down low to smother.
Two minutes later, he powered though on goal again before releasing a well struck effort, which was denied by an excellent save from Lillis.
In the 75th minute Middlesbrough made a triple substitution. Albert Adomah, Bryn Morris and Andre Bennett were replaced Andy Halliday, Ritchie Smallwood and David Atkinson, respectively.
Boro had the ball in the back of the net five minutes later, however it was ruled out for offside. Tomlin had beaten the Dale defence and should have struck the ball himself, but instead passed to substitute Adomah who finished from an offside position.It finished Rochdale 1, Middlesbrough 3.