The excellent Rochdale exited the Capital One Cup at the second round stage on Tuesday night following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Hull City.
Greg Luer’s ninth minute goal separated the two sides at the KC Stadium.
Manager Keith Hill made four changes to the side that lined up against Chesterfield at the weekend. Oliver Lancashire and Joe Bunney missed out through injury, while Donal McDermott and Callum Camps were rested on the bench. They were replaced by Ashley Eastham, Andy Cannon, Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Calvin Andrew.
Hull City enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening exchanges as they started brightly, but despite seeing plenty of the ball, the Tigers were unable to force a way through the Rochdale midfield, who worked tirelessly.
With Keith Hill’s side soaking up the early pressure, it became apparent that the Tigers would need a killer pass to work a way into the area and that came in the ninth minute as a through ball sent Greg Luer in on goal. The composed forward drilled a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net to open the scoring.
Dale responded positively and had their first effort on goal two minutes after going behind. Noble-Lazarus tested Eldin Jakupovic from the edge of the area, but in the end the goalkeeper collected comfortably.
Rochdale settled into the match as the half progressed and limited the Tigers to efforts from distance as they defended resolutely. Most notably, Abel Hernandez firstly flashed an effort narrowly wide of the right before sending a volley over the bar, while Harry Maguire sent an ambitious effort goal-wards from just inside the Dale half. He attempted to catch Lillis off guard, but the ‘keeper was alert and collected comfortably.
Dale were on top during the latter stages of the half but were unable to trouble Jakupovic as they twice sent efforts over the bar during the dying minutes. Cannon firstly headed over from a Noble-Lazarus corner before Ian Henderson flashed an effort over.
HT: HULL CITY 1-0 ROCHDALE
The second half started at a high tempo pace, with both sides having chances on goal during the opening five minutes.
Seconds after kick-off, Andrew closed down Jakupovic as he attempted to put him under pressure. The goalkeeper was forced to twist and turn away from the Dale frontman before being able to hit clear.
Straight up the other end and Hernandez was presented with a golden opportunity as Andy Robertson delivered into the area, but somehow, he could only fire over from six-yards.
Andrew was involved again a minute later as he got on the end of an excellent Noble-Lazarus cross. He was unable to get enough power on the header, but still forced Jakupovic into a save as he sent the ‘keeper diving to his left.
Sam Clucas’ snap-shot in the 49th minute travelled narrowly wide of the upright.
With the game relatively even, Manager Keith Hill made his first substitution shortly before the hour mark as Rhys Bennett replaced Peter Vincenti.
After the change, Dale began to get the better of the home-side, but despite some excellent passages of play, they were forced to be patient as the Championship side defended resolutely.
Further changes soon followed as Lewis Alessandra and McDermott replaced Andrew and Noble-Lazarus in a double substitution, adding to Dale’s attacking prowess.
Rochdale were on top and in the 71st minute, after a string of excellent passes, Jamie Allen beat the offside trap and picked out Bennett inside the area. His effort was cleared away three yards from the goal line.
Three minutes later and Alessandra was unable to connect with the ball as he attempted a scissor kick. The ball fell for Bennett, who fired wide.
Dale were dominating, but the Tigers were always capable of producing a threat in front of goal and with 77 minutes on the clock, the unmarked Hernandez sent an effort wide of Lillis’ upright from 12-yards.
Five minutes from time, there were appeals for a handball by Maguire inside the area after Dale worked an opening down the right hand-side of play. The referee was quick to say no to a spot-kick, however.
Rochdale gave their all until the full time whistle, but were unable to find a break through against a resolute Hull City side.
It finished Hull City 1, Rochdale 0.