Callum Camps’ late goal wasn't enough to prevent Dale being beaten 2-1 by Walsall at the Crown Oil Arena.
Josh Ginnelly opened the scoring for the visitors shortly after the hour mark with a deflected effort, before Zeli Ismail doubled the lead in the second-half.
Camps responded immediately to get Dale back within one, but despite pressure in the final ten minutes, they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Keith Hill made five changes to the side that faced Barnsley in midweek, as Magnus Norman, Joe Rafferty, Camps, Ollie Rathbone and Aaron Wilbraham all started.
Dale dominated possession in a first-half that saw few clear-cut chances created by either side.
Matty Done had a cross punched away by Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts, before Camps fired over from 30-yards.
A clever chipped ball by Camps found the head of Ian Henderson, whose flick came off a Walsall defender and narrowly the wrong side of the post into the side netting.
Ginnelly saw a tame shot held by Dale stopper Norman shortly before he gave the visitors the lead. Norman’s pass out was picked up by Ginnelly, whose shot from range took a deflection off MJ Williams which took the ball away from Norman as it span into the bottom corner of his net.
Dale continued to see more of the ball after the goal but couldn’t find a way to goal. Jim McNulty headed wide from Rafferty’s free-kick, before Camps’ volley from outside the area deflected into the arms of Roberts.
Calvin Andrew replaced Rathbone ten minutes after the break and he nodded a Camps cross back across goal and narrowly past the far post.
He was involved again when he got a head to Rafferty’s corner kick, but MJ Williams could only fire over from the edge of the six-yard box as he latched onto it.
It was the visitors who grabbed the next goal through substitute Ismail, when he turned onto his left foot and fired home.
However, Dale responded immediately. Rafferty’s cross was headed against the foot of the post by Wilbraham, but fell kindly for Camps who turned home the rebound.
Camps then saw a curling effort beaten away by Roberts’ dive to his left after a drive forward through midfield, as Dale searched for an equaliser.
Walsall almost restored their two goal cushion when Andy Cook flashed an effort past the far post, before they were reduced to ten men when Ismail was sent-off for a second bookable offence with four minutes remaining.
Cook then saw a shot saved by the face of Dale stopper Norman, whilst Bradden Inman’s deflected shot from the edge of the area was held, as Dale just couldn’t force a late equaliser.