Andy Cannon’s third goal in three games earned Dale a point against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
The Academy graduate pounced upon a goalkeeping mistake in the closing moments of the first half to continue his fine goalscoring form. Billy Sharp equalised inside the final ten minutes with a well taken finish to rescue a point for the hosts.
There was one change from Tuesday night as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing came in for Sanmi Odelusi. Conrad Logan made the bench after signing a six month contract in midweek.
Mark Duffy and Andy Cannon exchanged long range efforts wide for either side, after a quiet but evenly contested opening ten minutes.
There was a hairy moment for home goalkeeper George Long when he spilled a Donal McDermott corner, before the ball was scrambled away.
However, he recovered well moments later to deny Ian Henderson. A McDermott through ball ricocheted into the path of Henderson, but Long was out quickly to deny the Dale skipper at his feet.
Duffy and Cannon again dragged efforts wide as the half wore on, this time from inside the area with bodies flying around them.
As the half entered its final five minutes, McDermott skewed an effort well wide before Dale would put their noses in front two minutes before the break.
Henderson’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected, but Long couldn’t hold onto the spinning ball. Cannon seized upon the spill and showed great composure to round the goalkeeper and stroke the ball into the empty net.
HT: SHEFFIELD UNITED 0-1 ROCHDALE
Former Dale man Matt Done fired a Sharp cross wide early on in the second period, but Dale were comfortable without creating a clear cut opening.
Duffy’s cross was met by Leon Clarke as the home side went in search of the equaliser. Rochdale were enjoying an even share of possession though, and forays forward from McDermott and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing looked promising without amounting to an effort on goal.
Sanmi Odelusi replaced Mendez-Laing with just over 20 minutes remaining, whilst Camps swiftly followed in place of goalscorer Cannon.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Dale looked to be holding on for a victory, but the home side would drag themselves level. A free-kick was delivered by Hussey from the right side and turned in by Sharp with an excellent cushioned volley.
With the crowd behind them, the Blades looked to pile on the pressure as the final whistle approached but didn’t test Josh Lillis despite throwing bodies forward.
Keith Hill’s side held on for a well-earned point that gets them off the mark in the League One season, with a trip to Port Vale waiting on Tuesday night.
Dale: Lillis, Rafferty, J McNulty, Canavan, McGahey, Andrew, Mendez-Laing, McDermott, Allen, Cannon, Henderson.
Subs: Logan, Tanser, Camps, Thompson, Morley, Odelusi, Bunney.
Sheffield United: Long, Brayford, Hussey, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Sharp, Done, Wilson, Duffy, Clarke.
Subs: M McNulty, Scougall, Ramsdale, Wright, Coutts, Freeman, Chapman.