The under-18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night, following a 1-0 defeat away at a stubborn Accrington Stanley in the first round of the competition.
Joshua Hamami’s strike early in the first half proved to be the only goal of the game at the Wham Stadium.
Rochdale started on the front, as they took the game to the opposition, but found themselves behind on six minutes, when Stanley opened the scoring against the run of play.
The hosts were initially kept out by the woodwork when a shot from the edge of the area cannoned off the bar, but the ball fell for Joshua Hmami, who fired home.
Dale struggled to get a foothold in the game after the goal, but after Brad Wade comfortably held a Joel Mills header in the 15th minute, Rochdale started to grow into the game and couple of minutes later, they were in behind the Stanley defence.
Daniel Adshead sent Neil Kuemo through one-on-one with ‘keeper Nathan Wolland, but he chose to square the ball instead of going for goal, and the ball was defended behind by the home side.
Stanley’s Niall Watson tried his luck from distance soon after, and his audaciousness almost paid off as his left-footed curling effort landed on the roof of the net, although Wade in the Dale goal had it covered.
Rochdale finished the half strongly and had opportunities to go into the break level, with the side being denied on line during the closing stages.
Around the half hour, Isaac Ward picked out Kuemo with a perfect cross-field pass. After bringing the ball down, the Dale forward took it to the byline and forced Wolland to into save on the line at his near post.
Morley then had an effort charged down on the edge of the 18-yard box, before Florent Hoti fired wide from 30-yards.
Good work by Adshead saw him break into the after driving at goal, but Fabio Tavares, who had been picked out by the young Dale midfielder, had his shot blocked.
Rochdale came within a whisker of deservedly equalising but were again denied on the line.
Morley’s long range effort was palmed onto the post by Wolland, and the ball bounced along the line before being snatched by the flustered ‘keeper.
HT: ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1-0 ROCHDALE
The start of the second half was a relatively even affair, with Kuemo’s half-volley on the turn on 55 minutes the first chance of the period. The effort was well-held by Wolland, though.
James Neild replaced Keith Kearney shortly after the hour mark, in Rochdale’s first change of the match, and Dale came close on two occasions moments later.
Morley ran nearly the entire length of the pitch as his side hit Stanley on a rapid counter-attack, and after squaring the ball out to Bradley on the right, Bradley delivered a low dangerous ball into the area, but Wolland got down low to smother as Tavares loitered.
Bradley went from provider to having an effort on goal himself, after connecting with a Kuemo cross, but he could only steer it over the bar.
He was involved in the action again soon after, this time seeing a shot trickle past the upright from a Tavares lay-off.
A second substitution followed, as Florent Hoti was replaced by Florian Yonsian in the 79th minute.
Stanley chances had been limited, but after Thomas Riley hit wide from a free-kick, Jack Burgess then sent an overhead-kick from a corner just over the bar.
Wade was then called into action for the first time during the half, as he denied Lewis Gilboy at his near post.
Dale’s third and final substitution followed in the 84th minutes, as Bradley made way for Louis White.
As the clock ticked towards the full-time whistle, Ward headed wide from a Morley free-kick and then headed over from a corner.
FT: ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1-0 ROCHDALE
DALE XI: Wade, Appiah, Ward, Renner, Kearney, Morley, Hoti, Adshead, Bradley, Kuemo, Tavares. Subs: Piper (GK), Neild, Hamzat, White, Yonsian.