Rochdale’s under-18 side progressed through to the second round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Goals from Juwon Hamzat, Florent Hoti and Harrison Hopper ensured victory for Dale.
Rochdale had the first couple of opportunities of the game, when Florian Yonsian latched onto a poor back pass and sent an effort goalwards, only to be denied by a strong save from the Doncaster ‘keeper. When the ball was sent back in, Florent Hoti fired over the bar inside the area.
The hosts were lively, though, and in the 13th minute Branden Horton's cross from the left came off crossbar, while Morgan Piper got his hand to a low shot as a late offside flag went up.
But it was Dale who opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Juwon Hamzat. The centre-back rose highest to meet a Hoti corner, powering a header beyond Lewis Landers.
Piper made sure Dale restored their goal advantage with two excellent saves, soon after they had taken the lead.
He got down well to turn away a Lirak Hasani half-volley and tipped a goalbound looping effort from Myron Gibbons over the bar.
Rochdale finished the half strongly. As well as Fabio Tavares having a shot blocked on the line, Dale also had penalty shout turned down after Lewis Bradley was pushed to the ground as he tried to get on the end of a Luke Matheson pass.
At the death, Piper got down to hold a powerful Rieves Boocock shot from inside the area.
HT | DONCASTER ROVERS 0-1 ROCHDALE
The first chance of the second half fell to the home side, but Jack Watson could only steer a left-wing cross over the bar.
Tavares had an effort on target just minutes later, having a clever shot on the turn held by Landers.
Gibbons nodded over from a Walker cross, before Bradley saw an effort from a tight angle well held and Piper was alert to hold a powerful shot from outside the area.
Rochdale doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute, as Hoti fired home from the spot after Tavares had been shoved to the ground inside the area.
A third came just two minutes later, when Harrison Hopper’s shot through a crowded box caught Landers flat footed and nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
Musambya Kisimba replaced Lewis Bradley soon after, in Dale’s first change of the game.
There were shouts for another Dale penalty, when Dunne's cross appeared to strike the arm of a Doncaster defender in the 82nd minute but on this occasion it wasn’t given.
But Rochdale were in on goal again 60 seconds later, after Dunne’s perfectly weighted pass down the channel sent Tavares in one-on-one with Landers, but the forward was kept out at the near post.
In the final changes of the match, under-16 players Louie Clarkson and Joe Wright replaced Hopper & Tavares, respectively.
In stoppage time, Kisimba had an effort from the edge of the area held, as Dale looked like they’d see the game out comfortably. There was, however, a late scare to the clean sheet but some last ditch-defending to clear a low ball in from the left ensured it was kept intact.
FT | DONCASTER ROVERS 0-3 ROCHDALE
DALE XI | Piper, Matheson, Neild, Hamzat, Dunne, White, Hopper, Hoti, Tavares, Bradley, Yonsian. Subs | Martin, Kisimba, Clarkson, Wright, Moreland.