Clinical finishing proved to be the difference between the two sides as Rochdale fell to a 4-2 defeat at home to Swindon Town on Tuesday evening.
Despite a strong performance from Dale, the damage was all done in the first half as a Ben Gladwin hat-trick and a goal from Michael Smith gave the visitors a four goal advantage.
Ian Henderson gave Dale a glimpse of hope as he scored from the spot on the stroke of half time but by the time Nathan Thompson put the ball in the back of his net deep in stoppage time, the game was over as a contest.
Manager Keith Hill named just one change from the side which started at Doncaster Rovers at the weekend. Joel Logan was replaced by Joe Bunney.
Dale started brightly and created a glorious opportunity early on as Jamie Allen was quick to spot the run of Henderson. He waited for the support of Bunney on his left and played him into the box where Bunney released fierce drive at goal. It stung the palms Wes Foderingham in the Swindon goal. He was unable to keep a hold of the ball, however, the follow up was cleared away.
A special Michael Rose free kick looked to have opened the scoring for Dale with it destined for the top corner from 30 yards. But out of nowhere, the ‘keeper leapt and stretched out an arm to tip the ball onto the crossbar with a sublime save.
And it was the Robins who opened the scoring just seconds later after breaking quickly following Rose's free kick. At the sharp end of the break was Gladwin who got in behind the Dale defence and despite the best efforts of Joe Rafferty, he slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the Dale goal.
Three minutes later and Swindon caught Dale napping to double their advantage. Gladwin broke strongly through the midfield before finding Michael Smith on the edge of the Dale box. His first touch set the ball perfectly for him to turn and curl the ball around the dive Jones and into the bottom corner.
Dale looked to hit back but again, could only hit the woodwork, as Henderson was this time denied by the post. After some fantastic play through midfield, the ball came to Henderson on the left who cut inside before chipping the goalkeeper from the edge of the box but his effort bounced back off the inside of the post and into Foderingham's arms.
It was soon 3-0 to Swindon however, as Gladwin doubled his tally. After getting on the end of a Smith flick on, Gladwin showed quick feet to beat Eastham before slotting underneath the on-rushing Jones and into the bottom corner.
Gladwin was then given the chance to seal his hat-trick from the penalty spot after he was judged to have been fouled by Vincenti just inside the box. He got up to take the resulting penalty and slotted confidently to the bottom left corner.
Dale were handed a lifeline from the penalty spot after Cannon superbly beat his man on the right to break into the area before being shoved to the ground by the defender inside the box. Ian Henderson stepped up to take the penalty and although Foderingham looked to have blocked the shot with his legs, the spin took the ball over the goal line to give Dale a glimmer of hope with the last kick of the half.
HALF TIME: Rochdale 1-4 Swindon Town
Full of running, Jamie Allen charged at the Swindon defence with the ball and looked to catch Foderingham out with an early shot. It had the direction but not enough power though, as the Swindon 'keeper got across to his left to save and keep hold of the ball.
Jamie Jones showed great agility to deny Nathan Byrne with a fantastic double save. Byrne had got on the end of a low cross to poke the ball towards goal but Jones clawed the ball off his line before quickly getting back to his feet to throw his body in the way of the follow up.
Tom Kennedy fancied his chances from long range after picking the ball up on the half way line. With nothing opening up in front of him, he attempted to drive an effort towards the top corner but despite catching it well, the ball continued to rise over the cross bar.
With three minutes of added time played at the end of the game, Dale found a more than deserved consolation. Reuben Noble-Lazarus broke down the left and fizzed in a dangerous low ball across goal. Swindon defender Nathan Thompson stuck out a leg to block the ball but ultimately diverted it over Foderingham and into the top corner.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 2-4 Swindon Town