Rochdale fell to their first defeat in five games, going down 2-0 at Shrewsbury Town’s Greenhous Meadow on Tuesday evening.
Both Shrews goals came during a dominant first half. Shaun Walley opened the scoring in the 13th minute before Nathaniel Knight-Percival doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time.
Dale were much improved after the break but the game had ultimately been won in the first half.
Manager Keith Hill made two changes to the side that lined-up against Sheffield United. Grant Holt and Peter Vincenti, who netted in the win over the Blades, went into the eleven, replacing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Joe Bunney. Donal McDermott was named on the bench, as he returned from injury.
The home side started the brightest and gained an early advantage as they opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Shaun Whalley.
He charged through one on one with Josh Lillis, before drilling a shot across goal. The strike came off the inside of the post and into the back of the net.
Soon after Whalley’s goal, a brave Lillis was forced to deny the goal-scorer, who was again in on goal. Moments later and Lillis then got down to his right to keep out a long range Andy Mangan effort.
Dale’s first chance of the game came immediately after, as they opened the home-side up on the counter-attack. Ian Henderson sent his dipping volley narrowly over the bar.
There was no let-up in Shrewsbury’s attacking intent, though, and they continued asking all the questions, with Rochdale forced to defend for large periods of time.
But against the run of play, Grant Holt had an effort blocked on the line in the 38th minute. A Dale corner to the far post was sent back in by Jamie Allen, and Holt, who was left sprawling on the floor did exceptionally well to get a touch on the ball. He was kept out by Grimmer on the line.
Four minutes later and Mangan had an appeal for a penalty turned down. He went to ground inside the area, but the referee was quick to wave away the appeals.
On the stroke of half-time the home-side doubled their advantage. Nathaniel Knight-Percival sent a bullet into the back of the net after getting on the end of a corner ball.
HT: SHREWSBURY TOWN 2-0 ROCHDALE
Manager Keith Hill opted for a double change for the start of the second half as Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Joe Bunney replaced Michael Rose and Peter Vincenti.
Dale were much improved after the break and eight minutes into the second period Rochdale came within inches of halving the deficit as Bunney saw an effort deflected narrowly wide of the upright.
On the hour mark, Callum Camps replaced Joe Rafferty, in Dale’s final change of the game.
Shortly after the substitution, an outstretched Jayson Leutwiler did enough to get a hand to a Henderson effort, taking it away from the target, before Holt, who got a touch on a Dale corner steering it towards goal, saw his effort hooked off the line, during a positive spell.
Vassell dragged an effort wide of the upright in the 74th minute, but it was Rochdale who finished the game with a flurry. They saw plenty of the ball but despite a string of corners and free-kicks, they were unable to break down the resolute Shrews, who were happy to sit back on their comfortable lead.
FT: Shrewsbury 2-0 Rochdale