Bradden Inman’s brace secured a 2-1 opening day victory over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Inman opened the scoring after ten minutes, latching on to Aaron Wilbraham’s knock down and finishing superbly, before doubling his tally and the lead 12 minutes later.
The hosts fought back in the second-half and got themselves back into it through Liam Boyce’s close range finish, but Dale held on for all three points.
There were shouts for an early red card from the Dale players and staff, when Buton skipper Jake Buxton crashed into Inman on the halfway line, but referee Darren Drysdale only deemed the challenge worthy of a yellow.
Inman shook off the challenge, before breaking the deadlock in fine style in the tenth minute.
MJ Williams’ diagonal ball forward was nodded down by debutant Aaron Wilbraham perfectly into the path of Inman, who fired home off the inside of the post with a first-time effort.
A perfect start to the new season for Dale and Inman, which got even better 12 minutes later.
Following a spell of pressure from the home side, Callum Camps’ ball forward allowed Dale to break, as Wilbraham dummied over the pass for Ian Henderson to run onto.
He squared the ball to the far post with the outside of his boot for Inman, who took a touch before showing great composure to double his and Dale’s tally.
The home side had their fair share of chances in the opening, the best of which came through Marvin Sordell, but he saw his snap shot saved by the strong hands of Josh Lillis.
Kyle McFadzean and Scott Fraser volleyed over for the hosts, before Lillis dropped to his right to hold on to a Ben Turner header.
Keith Hill’s side could have headed into the break three goals to the good when Matty Done picked up Aaron Wilbraham’s flick, but drove his low effort just past the far post.
Lillis twice denied Fraser as Burton started the second period brightly, holding a low shot before denying a second effort from inside the area with his legs.
Wilbraham fired over from range and Inman shot wide of the near post from just inside the area as he looked for his hat-trick, but it would be his last act as he was replaced by Joe Thompson.
The Brewers halved the deficit in the 71st minute when Lucas Akins’ shot was parried by Lillis into the path of Boyce, who tapped home from six-yards.
Sordell had a host of chances for the home side inside the final 15 minutes, but was denied three times by Lillis, as well as firing over when in a good position.
Dale were under pressure as the minutes ticked away, which was almost relieved when Williams fired just wide of the far post.
David Templeton sent a shot over the crossbar in the four minutes which were added, as Dale held on for an opening day victory.
Dale XI | Lillis, McGahey, MJ Williams, McNulty, Rafferty, Camps (Delaney 73’), Perkins, Done, Inman (Thompson 65’), Henderson, Wilbraham (Andrew 78’).
Subs | Moore, Ntlhe, Delaney, Andrew, Rathbone, Thompson, Cannon.