The Youth Team suffered their first defeat since August, losing 5-1 at Grimsby Town in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
Five of Dale’s starters were from the Academy’s under-16 side, with a further two appearing from the substitute’s bench.
The result leaves Dale second in Northern Group 4, having won their two previous games, with a final match at Mansfield Town next month.
The home side took the lead early on with a back-post header from a corner, and they doubled their lead from the penalty spot just before half-time.
Under-16s Joe Wright and Louie Clarkson fired just off target as Dale searched for a way back into the game, but another header from a corner made it 3-0 shortly after the break.
Morgan Piper made two fingertip saves in two minutes midway through the second-half but he was helpless when a free-kick was headed home 12 minutes from time.
Fabio Tavares pulled a goal back for the Dale late on, finishing clinically from Musambya Kisimba’s through ball after a great run from Morgan Moreland.
Grimsby grabbed their fifth in added time with a neat finish from a cross from the right.
The two are now tied at the top of Northern Group 4 on six points, along with Mansfield. The winner of the group advances to the knockouts, along with the best second placed team from Groups 4, 5 and 6.