Rochdale were beaten 3-0 by a clinical Blackburn Rovers at the Crown Oil Arena.
Richie Smallwood opened the scoring with a fine volley after ten minutes, before Marcus Antonsson doubled the visitors’ lead shortly before the hour mark.
MJ Williams hit the crossbar with a thunderous effort as Dale searched for a route back into the game, substitute Danny Graham added a third late on to wrap up the scoring.
Keith Hill made three changes to the side that drew at Southend United last time out, as Steven Davies, Joe Bunney and deadline day loan signing Donervon Daniels all started. Club Captain Ian Henderson missed the game through suspension, after the Club’s appeal against his red card at Roots Hall failed.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, with a finely taken finish. Elliott Bennett’s right-wing cross dropped around the penalty spot, allowing Smallwood to run onto it and crash home a sweetly struck volley into the bottom corner.
Davies sent a free-kick high and wide as Dale looked to hit back immediately, and they more than matched Rovers throughout the opening period.
Antonsson curled an effort wide of the far post for the visitors, whilst Rovers skipper Craig Conway forced Brendan Moore into a low save.
Jordan Williams fired wide from outside the area on the stroke of half-time for Dale with the final effort of the half.
The visitors created the opening chance of the second half, when Antonssen’s back post header needed to be saved by Moore.
Antonssen wasn’t to be denied just before the hour mark as he doubled Rovers’ lead. Bennett’s header hit a Dale defender and fell perfectly for Antonssen, who calmly stroked past Moore.
Andy Cannon had a strong effort deflected wide, whilst MJ Williams stunning first time effort took a deflection and struck the top of the crossbar.
Williams (11) and Mark Kitching were replaced by Ollie Rathbone and Bradden Inman as Dale looked for a goal that would get them back in the game.
However, it was Rovers who scored the next goal, sealing their victory. Substitute Harry Chapaman overran a ball in the area, allowing Moore to come out and collect. However, the Dale stopper spilled the ball into the path of Graham, who stroked home into the empty net.
Matthew Gillam replaced Davies in the final ten minutes with Dale’s final chance, as Bunney and Graham exchanged efforts off-target as the game entered stoppage time.
Done had Dale’s final effort of the game, when his effort was cleared off the line from Bunney’s pull back.