Dale booked their place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
Steven Davies’ deflected effort put Dale ahead just after the break and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing made sure of the victory in injury time.
Keith Hill made four changes from last weekend’s defeat at Gillingham. Niall Canavan, Ian Henderson, Steven Davies returned to the starting eleven, along with Keith Keane who was granted permission by his parent club to play. Former Dale players Jason Kennedy and Nicky Adams started for Carlisle.
The home side had the first chances of the tie, as Grainger’s low effort from 30 yards was held by Conrad Logan, before Charlie Wyke’s faint header flew wide of the target from inside the six yard box.
Joe Rafferty was heavily involved in Dale’s attacking play in the first half, and had a left foot shot held by Mark Gillespie after Callum Camps’ delightful ball to him. He then had two efforts blocked in quick succession as he broke into the area gain, before he almost created an opener for Dale.
The right-back crossed into the area where there was a mad scramble before the ball was eventually cleared. He then provided another cross which the goalkeeper spilled to the feet of Niall Canavan, but he could only poke just wide of the post from the edge of the six yard box.
Dale were enjoying a dominant spell midway through the first half, as Davies sent a free-kick well over from a promising position, whilst at the other end Kennedy’s looping header dropped over the crossbar from
Reggie Lambe’s cross.
Rafferty was forward again down the right side and crossed to the back post where Davies was waiting, but he sent his header over from close range.
There was a change for Dale at the break as Jim McNulty replaced Canavan, who picked up a booking in the opening period.
It took Dale less than three second half minutes to break the deadlock, as Davies scored his seventh goal in five matches. He received the ball on the half turn, and fired a half volley goalwards which was deflected, and looped over the helpless Gillespie to give Dale the lead.
The home side retaliated well to going a goal down and put the Dale defence under pressure for a spell, but Keith Hill’s side dealt well with the threat and the home side couldn’t create a clear cut chance.
Wyke had a shot from the edge of the area well wide after a quick counter attack which they couldn’t make count.
Harrison McGahey replaced Steven Davies, as Joe Bunney moved up front and almost had an instant impact. Dale won the ball back high up the pitch and it allowed Bunney to break into the area, but his right foot shot flashed past the far post.
He was then replaced by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing with three minutes remaining, and in four minutes of added time he secured Dale’s passage through the next round.
Oliver Rathbone did superbly to break into the area and pull the ball back to the far post where Mendez-Laing finished calmly to double Dale’s lead and confirm their place in the third round draw which takes place on Monday night.