Rochdale were forced to settle for a point at home to Gillingham on Saturday, despite a dominant and one sided showing against the Gills.
Dale were left to rue missed opportunities as the visitors netted against the run of play from one of just two shots on target.
Peter Vincenti had given Dale a deserved lead in the 25th minute, but despite bombarding the visitors’ goal with countless chances, they were unable to find a way past Stephen Bywater. Cody McDonald snatched a point for the Gills in the 83rd minute.
Manager Keith Hill made three changes to the side that lined up against Barnsley in Dale’s last league outing, with Rhys Bennett, Ashley Eastham and Michael Rose starting ahead of Joe Rafferty, Olly Lancashire and Matty Lund.
Rochdale had the best of the opportunities during the opening stages, as they tested twice during a three minute period, and the trend would continue throughout the match.
In the ninth minute, a Dale free-kick, which had been closed down on the edge of the area, was sent back into the mix and met by the head of Ian Henderson. His looping header forced Stephen Bywater to scoop the ball off the line, but as Jack O'Connell found the back of the net with a follow up effort, the flag went up against offside.
Moments later and Dale should have gone ahead, however, Vincenti could only fluff the ball from six yards after getting on the end of a Tanser cross, which had evaded the defence, sending it into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Rochdale always looked the most likely to opening the scoring and they went ahead on 25 minutes.
Tanser sent a raking ball to Done, who in turn picked out Bennett. The right back sent a ball to the back post for Vincenti, who headed beyond Bywater to give Keith Hill’s side a one goal advantage.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-0 GILLINGHAM (Vincenti, 25 minutes)
After the goal, the Gills lived dangerously without causing too much trouble for the Dale defence, with Rochdale continuing to carve open the best of the chances.
With 34 minutes played, Henderson had the opportunity to double Dale’s advantage, but he blasted over from 8 yards after getting on the end of a Rose effort from distance, which was spilled by Bywater.
Four minutes later, Rose again tested the ‘keeper with a thunderous shot. Bywater was unable to smother at the first time of asking, however this time there were no players there to take advantage.
With just a minute of the 45 remaining, the Gills’ Kortney Hause was fortunate to receive just a yellow card for a late and crunching challenge on Allen from behind.
In stoppage time, Gillingham were awarded a corner, much to the surprise of the players inside the area who had started to walk away, and it was from the set-piece that the visitors had their first shot on target, forcing Conrad Logan into a crucial save.
The corner ball had been whipped in towards John Egan, who headed goal wards into the packed six yard box. Cody McDonald got on the end of it, but was kept out by the legs of the alert ‘keeper.
It was the last of the action and Dale took a deserved lead into the break.
HT: ROCHDALE 1-0 GILLINGHAM
There were no changes for Rochdale at the interval, however, the visitors introduced Luke Norris onto the field of play in place of Bradley Dack.
Dale started the second half at the same high tempo as they had played out the first, and in a frantic couple of minutes, they had opportunities to put the game out of sight.
In the 55th minute Henderson powered a flying header inches wide of the target, before Vincenti came close to netting his second of the afternoon moments later.
Rose delivered a cross from the left hand side for Vincenti, who was waiting in the centre of the area. As the ball left his foot, the Dale fans rose to their feet, only to see the Jersey man’s effort, which had looked certain to be heading towards the back of the net, pop awkwardly into the hands of Bywater.
The same pattern continued as Rochdale continued to bombard the Gillingham goal during the half, and in the 77th minute Done beat the ‘keeper, but could only watch on as his effort crept just past the upright.
He left the pitch moments later to a standing ovation as he was replaced by Calvin Andrew in Dale’s first substitution of the game.
It had been all Rochdale, but they were left to rue missed opportunities as the visitors netted an equaliser seven minutes from time, against the run of play.
After a scruffy bit of play inside the area, Cody McDonald fired through the crowded box, earning a point for the Gills.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-1 GILLINGHAM (McDonald, 83 minutes)
Dale continued to throw everything forward in the remaining minutes of the match, but Bywater was again on hand to deny the home side as he snatched a Tanser effort, which looked to be heading for the back of the net, out of the air. In the end Dale were unable to find what would have been a more than deserved winner.
FT: Rochdale 1-1 Gillingham