Rochdale were beaten 1-0 at the Greenhous Meadow by a Shrewsbury Town who picked up a valuable three points in their fight against relegation.
The Shrews opened the scoring through Stefan Payne early in the first half, with what proved to be the winner of a match lacking in clear cut chances. Keith Hill's side did have the ball in the back of the net twice, but both were ruled out for offside.
Dale named an unchanged starting line-up from Tuesday’s win over Port Vale, although Keith Keane returned to the squad after serving a two match suspension.
Shrewsbury’s Jayson Leutwiler was called to action inside the opening ten minutes when he palmed away a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing cross, before Bryn Morris sent a half volley wide of the far post for the hosts, who didn’t have long to wait before breaking the deadlock.
They opened the scoring in the 16th minute, after capitalising on a Dale mistake at the back. Calvin Andrew’s loose ball back to Jim McNulty was missed by the centre-half, allowing Payne to seize on the loose ball and finish coolly past Conrad Logan.
Dale thought they had replied instantly, but Ian Henderson was flagged offside as he turned a rebound home from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s weak effort.
Neither goalkeeper had much to do for the remainder of the opening period. Morris thrashed another half volley over the crossbar for the hosts, whilst Mendez-Laing sent a free-kick wide, and Callum Camps and
Ollie Rathbone both sent efforts from distance off target shortly before half-time.
There was a change early on in the second half for Dale when Reuben Noble-Lazarus replaced Donal McDermott, going to left back with Andrew pushing forward.
Camps and Shaun Whalley exchanged free-kicks off target, before there was a second change as Keane replaced Mathew Lund, who had been cautioned moments earlier, closely followed by Dale’s third and final sub when Steven Davies replaced Rathbone.
Keane fired an effort wide from 25 yards as Dale struggled to create chances that would test Leutwiler. Junior Brown, pushing forward from left-back, let fly from the corner of the 18 yard box, flashing his effort past the far post.
The hosts then dropped deeper inside the final ten minutes to try and preserve a priceless three points, and although Dale did hit the back of the net in injury time, Andrew was in an offside position when he headed home Mendez-Laing’s cross.
Shrewsbury substitute Stephen Humprhys flashed an effort wide of the far post with the final chance of a match in which Dale couldn’t find the route to goal that would have seen them take something away from the Greenhous Meadow.