Rochdale were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller at the Northern Commercials Stadium, as Bradford City ran out 4-3 winners.
The hosts broke the deadlock after nine minutes through Matthew Kilgallon, just five minutes before Ian Henderson saw a penalty saved.
There were four goals in seven frantic minutes before the break. Charlie Wyke doubled Bradford’s lead with a looping header, before Henderson’s clinical low finish halved the deficit.
Dominic Poleon restored the Bantams two goal cushion, but Henderson’s stunning half-volley ensured Dale trailed by just one going into the break.
Substitute Steven Davies levelled with 15 minutes remaining, but the home side’s winner came through Tyrell Robinson four minutes later.
Keith Hill made three changes from Monday night’s Emirates FA Cup victory over Slough Town, as Kgosi Ntlhe, Jim McNulty and Matty Done all returned to the starting line-up.
The home side began strongly, and although Wyke sent a header and a first-time effort wide, he was involved in their opener after nine minutes.
Tony McMahon’s free-kick was delivered to the back post where Wyke headed back across goal, finding Kilgallon who poked home from six yards out.
McMahon then forced Lillis into a save with a curling effort from the corner of the area, before another free-kick directed towards Wyke was headed wide by the striker.
Dale had a golden chance to level matters when Ollie Rathbone was upended by Bradford goalkeeper Rouven Sattelmaier. However, Henderson’s penalty was well saved by the stopper low to his right.
Poleon and Alex Gilliead had efforts saved by Lillis, before the former latched on to Wyke’s through ball, only to be denied by Lillis who had come flying out of his goal to block.
Paul Taylor and Callum Camps exchanged efforts on target that were comfortably saved, shortly before Joe Rafferty curled a left-foot effort wide from outside of the area.
Then came a crazy spell before half-time, with four goals in seven minutes.
The home side doubled their lead in the 40th minute, when the combination of a McMahon set-piece towards Wyke paid dividends again.
This time, the striker sent a looping header over Lillis which struck the underside of the bar and bounced over the line.
However, Dale immediately reduced the deficit. Camps’ deflected shot fell Henderson’s way, and he calmly struck beyond the goalkeeper into the far corner.
There was a third goal in just two minutes when the Bantams restored their two goal lead through Poleon. A cross from the right was superbly delivered, and Poleon got across the near post first to poke home the home side’s third.
It looked as though the home side would take that two-goal cushion into the break, until Henderson’s stunning effort halved the deficit yet again.
A ball forward was flicked on by Calvin Andrew, into the path of Henderson who let the ball bounce, before crashing a half-volley past Sattelmaier.
Jordan Williams replaced McNulty at half-time, and he immediately won a corner which was eventually sent over via a looping Ntlhe header.
Gilliead was denied by Lillis after latching onto a through ball and driving at goal, with the Dale stopper closing down the one-on-one opportunity well.
Andy Cannon and Davies replaced Rafferty and Done, and with his first involvement, Davies dragged Dale level.
He muscled his way through a couple of Bradford defenders and into the area, before firing low past Sattelmaier at the near post for the equaliser.
However, just four minutes later the hosts restored their lead. Wyke’s through ball was weighted perfectly for Robinson, who rounded the advancing Lillis and stroked the ball into the empty net.
Dale pushed looking for another equaliser, but the best chance they created through Rathbone was volley over the crossbar after Davies’ cross had been well defended away.
Henderson had a looping header saved as Dale threw bodies forward, but that was the last action of a pulsating match.