Rochdale made it three wins from three in 2015 as they ran out deserved 4-1 winners over Crawley Town at Spotland.
Dale took a 2-0 lead into the interval after dominating the first half – Scott Tanser and Ian Henderson with the goals.
The visitors proved more of a threat after the break and halved the deficit through Marin Elliot, but a comfortable Dale went on to net two late goals to seal the three points. Henderson netted his second of the afternoon, while Calvin Andrew got his name on the score-sheet for a consecutive week.
Manager Keith Hill named an unchanged eleven for the match, which went ahead thanks to the sterling efforts of around 40 supporters, who worked tirelessly alongside Dale’s ground staff for over three hours removing snow from the pitch covers.
There were two changes on the bench, however. Reuben Noble-Lazarus, who signed a permanent deal on Tuesday, was named as substitute, as was Febian Brandy, who joined the club on Monday. Joe Bunney and Andy Cannon made way for them.
Rochdale were in control during the first half, causing all the problems. Lewis Price, the Reds goalkeeper, was by far the busier of the two as Dale were relentless in their attack.
A resolute Crawley Town defence and ‘keeper meant clear cut opportunities were kept at a minimum during the opening exchanges, though, despite the continued pressure.
Dale stuck to task, though, and got their rewards as they took a more than deserved lead into the interval.
In the 22nd minute Rochdale had an appeal for a penalty turned down as Rafferty was shoved to ground inside the area, before Matty Done was kept out Price three minutes later as he sent a powerful effort directly at the ‘keeper, who spilled the shot as far his defender, who sent it behind for a corner.
With 31 minutes on the clock Peter Vincenti, who took a knock moments before, was unable to continue and was replaced by Calvin Andrew.
Rochdale continued in the same vein, despite the early change, and netted a deserved opener two minutes later through Scott Tanser.
Stephen Dawson’s cross was pushed away by Price towards Tanser, who volleyed beyond the ‘keeper from the corner of the box.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-0 CRAWLEY TOWN (Tanser, 33)
The one way traffic continued and in the 36th minute Dale had another penalty appeal waved after Done was upended inside the area. Two minutes later they found the back of the net for a second time. Price spilled an effort from Rhys Bennett, sending it into the path of Ian Henderson, who netted from an acute angle.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-0 CRAWLEY TOWN (Henderson, 38)
Dale remained in control until the half time whistle, taking a deserved lead into the break.
HT: ROCHDALE 2-0 CRAWLEY TOWN
Dale started the second half with the same attacking prowess as had been seen during the first and within less than two minutes after the re-start won a corner ball. As the visitors partially cleared the set-piece, Tanser was the quickest to react, sending a snap shot narrowly over the bar.
In the 53rd minute Dale were awarded a penalty as Done was sent to ground. He stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, but his weak effort was kept out Price, who went to his left.
Two minutes later and Crawley had their first opportunity on goal, as unmarked Marvin Elliot flashed a header just wide of the post from a corner ball.
Rochdale continued to apply the pressure, though, and shortly before the hour Price was on hand again, this time to deny Andrew. Done had found the frontman with a ball just inside the area, but despite getting his shot on target, he couldn’t find a way past the ‘keeper.
The penalty miss seemed to breath a bit of hope into the visitors as they enjoyed more of the ball, with substitute Bobson Bawling drawing a rare save from Josh Lillis. The ‘keeper could only parry the initial shot away, sending back into the path of Bawling, who blasted his follow up effort over the bar.
In the 74th minute, Izale McLeod surged through on goal, but could only send his effort well over the bar from just inside the area.
Two minutes later and they found the back of the net, halving the deficit. A Crawley Town free-kick was headed across the face of goal, for Elliot who sent his effort behind Lillis.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-1 CRAWLEY TOWN (Elliot, 76)
With 80 minutes on the clock, Dale were denied on the line. A corner ball was headed on by Andrew for Henderson, who was kept out from close range.
The Reds were proving to be more of threat than they had been for the first hour, and skipper Joe Walsh saw a shot go narrowly over the bar in the 84th minute.
Immediately after, Dale made a substitution as Jamie Allen replaced Camps.
Dale’s never say die attitude was again prevalent and they went on to net another two goals, to ensure they secured all three points in a deserved victory.
Henderson coolly side footed the ball home in the 88th minute to net his second of the afternoon and Rochdale’s third.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 3-1 CRAWLEY TOWN (Henderson, 88)
And in stoppage time the hard working Andrew rounded off the scoring.
Henderson sent the ball through for the frontman, who was blocked off by a Crawley defender. The ‘keeper came charging off his line, clearing the ball off Andrew, resulting in the ball ending up in the back of the net from all of 30 yards.
FT: ROCHDALE 4-1 CRAWLEY TOWN