Rochdale were defeated 2-1 by Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Andy Cannon had given Dale the lead with a fine left foot effort, but Bradley Garmston levelled just before the break after a powerful effort from outside the area.
Lee Martin’s second half strike sealed the three points, pouncing on a deflected cross with a well taken volley.
Keith Hill made four changes from Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy game against Lincoln City. Callum Camps, Matty Done, Donervon Daniels and Ian Henderson all returned to the starting lining up, and Thursday’s loan signing Billy Knott made the bench.
The home side could have taken the lead in the 10th minute through fortuitous circumstances, when a close-range effort took a massive deflection. Josh Lillis reacted quickly, and got down to keep the shot out on the line.
Two minutes later, Tom Eaves got a header away, calling Lillis into action again, but the Dale stopper dived to his left to deny him, with what can only be described as a camera save.
Ian Henderson had Rochdale’s first shot on goal, testing Tomas Holy with a flighted drive from the edge of the area.
Much of the Gills’ play centred around Eaves, and he should have done better when he found himself in on goal midway through the half, but in the end, he hit well wide of the target without troubling.
The deadlock was broken in the 27th minute, when Andy Cannon gave Dale the lead. After cutting inside, he unleashed a powerful strike beyond Holy from 20-yards.
Either side of the half hour, Done’s half volley was kept out by the Gillingham goalkeeper, while Eaves struck into the side netting.
The home side levelled the scoring four minutes before the break, when Garmston rattled a free-kick from 22-yards into the bottom corner of the net.
Before the half was out, Henderson had picked his spot in the top corner of the net but saw his effort drift just inches wide of the upright.
HT: GILLINGHAM 1-1 ROCHDALE
Rochdale had two opportunities to regain their lead within the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
After getting in on goal, Henderson lifted the ball up and over the onrushing Holy, but saw his effort drop into the roof of the net.
Moments later, the Gillingham ‘keeper was forced to turn Joe Bunney’s effort round his near post.
The home side went ahead shortly after the hour mark, when a deflected cross fell kindly for Martin and he struck home on the volley from 10-yards.
Garmston, who had netted from a set-piece in the first half, came close to doubling his tally with another free-kick. However, Lillis dived to push away the effort from 30-yards.
A double substitution followed in the 70th minute, with Bradden Inman and debutant Billy Knott replacing Kgosi Ntlhe and Done, before Bunney later made way for Harrison McGahey.
Dale pressed late on, as Daniels’ powerful header was denied by Holy to his left side.
The visitors’ best chance came in four minutes of stoppage time when, and it fell to Knott. Henderson’s ball to the back post was nodded back across goal by Andrew, but Knott’s volley flew over the crossbar from ten yards.
It was the final effort for Dale, as Gillingham defended deep and saw it out until the final whistle.
FT: GILLINGHAM 2-1 ROCHDALE