Dale secured the point they needed to win Northern Group B in the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-2 draw at home to Leicester City’s Under-21s.
A young Dale side raced into a two-goal lead thanks to headers from the experienced Calvin Andrew and Jim McNulty, but the visitors pulled a goal back in the first-half through Alex Pascanu.
Ryan Loft equalised after the break, but struck the woodwork with a penalty that would have won the game for his side.
A bonus point was on offer in the penalty shootout, which was claimed by the visitors 4-3.
Keith Hill named a youthful matchday squad, with eight current Academy players either starting or on the bench, as well as graduate Dan Adshead who captained the side.
Juwon Hamzat and Florian Yonsian, both unused substitutes for the previous Checkatrade Trophy game at Fleetwood Town, made their first-team debuts.
The visitors created the first chance of the night when Ryan Loft glanced a right-wing cross beyond the far post, but it was Dale who broke the deadlock five minutes in.
Adshead’s outswinging corner was met by Andrew ten-yards out, who powered a header into the back of the net.
It was another header that doubled Dale’s lead 12 minutes later. Adshead’s corner went beyond everyone but Florent Hoti at the back post, who delivered an inch-perfect cross back into the area for McNulty to send a header beyond Leicester goalkeeper Viktor Johannsson.
Second-year scholar Hoti, making his second first-team appearance, had a shot blocked after being found by Andrew, whilst Liandro Morris fired off target and also had an effort saved for the visitors.
They halved the deficit shortly before the half hour mark when a cross from the left found its way to Pascanu at the far post, who fired a powerful effort past Magnus Norman.
David Perkins fired an effort narrowly wide from distance as Dale led at the interval, at which Aaron Wilbraham replaced Andrew.
Loft and Callum Wright fired off target for the visitors after the break, before Wilbraham headed wide Luke Matheson’s cross to the back post and Zach Clough curled an effort wide.
The visitors levelled the game midway through the second period when Loft fired a low shot in at the near post after the referee deemed his tussle with MJ Williams not to warrant a free-kick for Dale.
Harrison Hopper replaced Hamzat with 16 minutes remaining to make his Dale debut and after Wilbraham had dragged a shot wide from outside the area, Leicester had a golden chance to take the lead.
Lamine Kaba Sherif was fouled in the area, but Loft’s penalty struck the foot of Norman’s left post.
The Dale goalkeeper then made a superb save from Kayne Leshabela’s left foot shot, getting a fingertip to the effort to turn around the post.
Williams cleared a Leicester effort off the line, before Dale had two good chances to win the game.
Wilbraham saw a low effort well saved with Adshead’s half volley held on the rebound, before Clough was denied one-on-one after being found by Norman’s superb throw out.
Neither side grabbing the decisive goal meant the game went to penalties to claim the extra point, which was claimed by the visitors’ Kaba Sherif after Williams saw his penalty saved.