A hat-trick from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing saw Dale pass comfortably through to the second round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Swindon Town.
He opened the scoring in the first half with a header to open his account for Dale. His second came just 42 seconds into the second period when he crashed home a half volley, before sealing the match ball with a penalty.
Swindon scored a consolation from the spot just a minute later.
Keith Hill made four changes from the side that started at Southend United last week. In came Ashley Eastham, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Michael Rose and Andy Cannon, with Oliver Lancashire, Tom Kennedy, Jamie Allen and Ian Henderson dropping out.
Swindon, who appointed Martin Ling as their new manager during the week, enjoyed near total domination of possession in the first five minutes as they played the ball around the defence deep in their own half. Louis Thompson had a shot from distance well over with their only effort of the opening stages.
Dale wrestled possession away from the visitors though, and after the opening ten minutes were the team on top. A lot of joy came down the right side, with firstly Camps having a shot blocked after a good interchange with Peter Vincenti, before Cannon was booked for diving when he went down in the area. The fans in the SpinandWin.com Stand felt Dale should have had a penalty.
Camps had another effort which he sent just wide after a knockdown from Vincenti, before Dale deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute. A corner from Rose looped up off a head and back off the bar, perfectly into the path of Mendez-Laing who nodded through bodies to score his first goal for the club.
Keith Hill’s men continued to apply the pressure following the goal, with Joe Bunney denied on a couple of occasions by Swindon stopper Lawrence Vigouroux. Firstly his header from Scott Tanser’s cross was saved low down, before a right footed effort from the edge of the area was tipped round the post. The latter chance came from a blistering run from Mendez-Laing who carried the ball the length of the pitch before laying it off.
Thompson had another effort for the visitors but sent his effort wide of Josh Lillis’ left post, before the returning Eastham headed over another Rose corner four minutes before the break.
It didn’t take Dale long to get going after the interval, in fact just 42 seconds were on the clock when the lead was doubled. Bunney did superb down the right side to find Vincenti, whose shot was blocked.
However, the ball fell perfectly for Mendez-Laing who rifled a half volley into the back of the net.
It gave Dale an important two goal cushion, and they were comfortable throughout a relatively quiet second half. Bunney had a shot comfortably saved after a neat turn, before he was brought down inside the area midway through the half.
The referee initially gave a corner to the amazement of everybody inside Spotland, before his assistant had a word in his ear and the decision was changed. Mendez-Laing stepped up and confidently blasted the ball down the middle for his hat-trick.
Swindon instantly reduced the deficit though, with another penalty. There was no doubt about this one as Tanser brought down his man just inside the area. Lillis went the right way but Nicky Ajose’s penalty was just out of his reach.
There was a lengthy stoppage which saw seven minutes of added time when Camps suffered a injury. He came off the pitch on a stretcher. Rhys Bennett replaced him, with Calvin Andrew coming on for Bunney.
The remainder of the match passed comfortably for Dale with Man of the Match Mendez-Laing receiving a standing ovation as he came off to be replaced by Donal McDermott.
The draw for the second round is on Monday night, whilst we’re back at Spotland on Tuesday night for the JPT game at home to Morecambe.
Dale: Lillis, Cannon, Eastham, McNulty, Tanser, Rose, Lund, Camps, Vincenti, Mendez-Laing, Bunney.
Subs: Castro Pereira, Bennett, Lancashire, Andrew, Alessandra, McDermott, Kennedy.
Swindon: Vigouroux, Turnbull, Kasim, Ajose, Thompson, Obika, Rodgers, Branco, Ojamaa, El-Abd, Barry.
Subs: Ottewill, Robert, Brophy, Ian-Dolo, Balmy, Hylton, Belford.