Ten man Rochdale fell to a 3-1 defeat away at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
After Keith Keane was dismissed for a second bookable offence during stoppage time in the first half, the hosts made the most of their numerical advantage early in the second period, netting their three goals in a five minute spell.
Dale responded with great fight and spirit, but couldn’t add to Callum Camps’ 65th minute goal, in game where they were twice denied by the woodwork.
Matty Lund returned from international duty and went straight into the starting eleven. There was a late change to line-up as Niall Canavan picked up an injury during the warm-up and was replaced by Joe Bunney.
Andy Cannon took the available place on the bench.
The game was end to end during a frantic first half, although Dale had the better of the chances.
A minute into the match and Ian Henderson picked out Mendez-Laing on the left, but after running at goal, he had his effort blocked. The ball was whipped back into the area by Lund for Calvin Andrew at the post and the visitors did exceptionally well to defend behind.
Rochdale kept the pressure on and Andrew got his head onto a delivery at the far post, but he couldn’t steer his effort goal wards.
On six minutes, Mendez-Laing drilled the ball across the face of goal but Dale failed to capitalise on the dangerous delivery as it evaded everyone inside the packed six-yard box.
Soon after, Lund struck from 20-yards, but his effort was always rising over the bar.
The hosts’ best chance of the half so far fell to Tom Elliott, but as he headed inches wide of the target, a late offside flag went up.
Henderson saw an effort deflected up and into the roof of the net after he showed great skill to turn and get his shot away from the edge of the area.
Mendez-Laing then came close after confidently drawing James Shea off his line. With the goalkeeper stranded, the Dale forward lifted the ball up and over Shea but his effort bounced agonisingly wide.
Henderson, who netted his 100th career goal in style on Saturday, almost added another to his tally with a sweet strike, but he was cruelly denied by the underside of the cross bar.
Logan was called into action in the 34th minute, as he kept out Lyle Taylor, and six minutes later Andy Barcham hit wide of the target, although Jim McNulty, who was on the line, would have had it covered.
In stoppage time, Dale were reduced to ten men after Keith Keane was shown his second yellow card of the game.
HT: AFC WIMBLEDON 0-0 ROCHDALE
Rochdale would be left to rue those first half missed opportunities as the hosts made the most of their numerical advantage at the start of the second period, netting three goals in five minutes, although Dale showed great fight and determination throughout the remainder of the half.
Sean Kelly opened the scoring from a corner, sending a stooping header into the bottom corner of the net, while Taylor swept the ball home after capitalising on a weak Dale clearance to double their advantage.
Parrett added the third from the penalty spot.
Two Dale substitutions followed in quick succession as Lund firstly replaced Rafferty, and Bunney then made way for Cannon.
AFC Wimbledon then made a triple substitution and Rochdale worked their way back into the game, with Dale the better of the two sides for large periods.
In the 65th minute, Callum Camps pulled one back for Keith Hill’s side as his speculative strike from 25-yards forced an error from Shea.
As Dale built momentum, Ollie Rathbone replaced Mendez-Laing and they continued in the ascendancy.
The woodwork stood between Allen and Rochdale’s second as the game reached the 69th minute. The midfielder had beaten Shea, but his curling effort was kept out by the post.
A short time later, Logan pulled off a tremendous double save to keep out the hosts.
Rochdale continued to apply the pressure as they refused to give up, but the hosts stood firm and defended resolutely to claim the three points.
FT: AFC Wimbledon 3-1 Rochdale