A brave and battling performance saw Rochdale secure all three points with a 2-1 victory over Colchester United on Saturday.
Early goals in each half from Rhys Bennet and Ian Henderson saw Dale open up a two goal lead, before Chris Porter put the visitors back in contention from the penalty spot.
Rochdale defended resolutely, however, and saw out the game to seal their second home win in the space of a week following Tuesday night’s 4-0 win over Crewe Alexandra.
Manager Keith Hill named just one change to the eleven that lined up for the midweek fixture, as Andy Cannon replaced the injured Joe Rafferty. Stephen Dawson made his return from injury to take a seat on the bench.
It was Dale who were fastest out of the blocks and they opened the scoring after just six minutes. The U’s had cleared a Dale corner but Tom Kennedy's first time ball back into the box caught them out as Bennett stooped low to get on the end of a Joe Bunney knock-down, heading the ball past Sam Walker at his near post.
Some intricate passing play created a great chance for Rochdale to double their lead. The ball was worked to Jamie Allen on the edge of the box and he played Bunney into the by line. He looked to drive the ball back across goal but the Colchester goalkeeper was alert to get down quickly and smother the ball inside his six yard box.
Jamie Jones pulled off two sublime saves to maintain Dale's advantage. The first came as Sammie Szmodics appeared to have caught him out with a dipping volley from distance but the Dale 'keeper stretched out an arm from nowhere to push the ball away.
Shortly after, the ball was whipped in from the right wing and Chris porter was able to get on the end of it. His first time effort looked destined for the top corner but Jones flung himself across goal to grab and keep hold of the ball.
HALF TIME: Rochdale 1-0 Colchester United
Ten minutes into the half and Dale doubled their advantage as Henderson showed great composure. The diagonal ball over the top came in from Rose and Henderson's deft touch took the ball past the Left back and into the area. From the tight angle he had created, Henderson fired a fierce drive across Walker and found the far corner emphatically.
Colchester found hope from the penalty spot after Gavin Massey twisted and turned and was judged to have been fouled inside the Dale box. Chris Porter stepped up to take the penalty and drove the ball down the middle to half the deficit.
Allen had Walker scrambling across his goal line as he looked to beat the 'keeper from the edge of the box. Allen miscued his effort and this almost caught the keeper out as it rolled towards the bottom corner but Walker just about got across quick enough to tip the ball around his post.
Jones pulled off two more exceptional saves as Colchester pushed to find an equaliser. First, David Fox connected sweetly with his effort from 30 yards but Jones got across well to his left to parry the ball around his post.
Substitute Macauley Bonne then found space to drive at the Dale defence before hitting a low drive across goal. Jones was on hand again, quickly getting down low to his right to push the ball away from danger.
FULL TIME: Rochdale 2-1 Colchester United
Report by Rob Anderson