Dale came from a goal behind to secure a 3-1 win over Colchester United in the final game before Christmas.
Chris Porter had put the visitors ahead with a fine half volley, before Ian Henderson levelled from the spot. Donal McDermott put Dale ahead four minutes later, with Oliver Lancashire sealing the victory in the second half.
Keith Hill made two changes from the side that was defeated at Swindon last Saturday, with Andy Cannon and Calvin Andrew replacing Rhys Bennett and the suspended John O’Sullivan.
It was a mild day inside Spotland for the last fixture before Christmas and the first half proved to be an entertaining affair.
The first chance fell to Colchester, when Alex Gibley’s shot was deflected just wide by his own teammate Tom Eastman.
It was Dale who had the better of the opening fifteen minutes though. Matthew Lund had a pullback well collected after an incisive Dale move, before Andrew sent a header just wide after Henderson had looped a header into the area.
However, it was the visitors took the lead with just over 20 minutes gone through Porter. George Moncur had a shot well saved by Joel Castro Pereira after he went through one on one, but the rebound fell to Porter who finished superbly on the half volley.
Hill’s troops responded well to setback and it wasn’t long before an equaliser came, albeit from the penalty spot when Peter Vincenti was adjudged to have been fouled as he chased a deep corner. Henderson’s spot kick was too high for former Dale loanee Jamie Jones, finding the top right corner with half an hour played.
The game was turned on its head just four minutes later when Dale took the lead. Callum Camps’ excellent ball sent McDermott one on one with Jones, and the Irishman finished excellently to put Dale ahead.
The score stayed that way until half time, and McDermott had the first chance of the second half when he cut inside onto his right foot on the left side of the area, but his curling effort was sent well over.
With just over an hour played the Colchester goal came under serious pressure as Dale forced corner after corner, and were rewarded with a third goal after Camps earned a free-kick on the right side. McDermott’s in-swinger was flicked on by Andrew into the path of Lancashire, who bundled the ball over the line at the back post.
It was no less than Dale deserved after a dominant spell, and it meant Keith Hill’s side were sat on a comfortable two goal cushion for the final 25 minutes of the match.
There were a few dangerous moments for Dale, most notably when Colchester were gifted possession and the resulting shot from Porter was sent wide when he should have done better.
Dale were dangerous from set pieces but otherwise didn’t trouble Jones in the visiting goal, whilst Castro Pereira wasn’t called into action at the other end as the clocked ticked down with no real chances to shout about.
Callum Harriott had a long range effort just wide for the visitors, who also had a couple of efforts deflected wide.
In the end it was a comfortable three points for Dale, who head into Boxing Day’s fixture at home to Crewe Alexandra looking for back-to-back wins to end the first half of the season. We hope to see you there.
Dale: Castro Pereira, Cannon, Lancashire, McNulty, Rose, Camps, Lund, McDermott, Vincenti, Henderson, Andrew.
Subs: Lillis, Bennett, Eastham, Barry-Murphy, Kennedy, Hooper, Bunney.
Colchester: Jones, Briggs, Edwards, Elokobi, Gibley, Porter, Moncur, Massey, Eastman, Brindley, Harriott.
Subs: Kent, Bonne, Lapslie, Sembie-Ferris, Vincenti-Young, Parish, Sordell.