Ethan Hamilton’s 81st minute goal secured a huge three points in a 1-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Easter Monday.
The on-loan Manchester United man struck late on to lift Dale on to 51 points, five points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining.
Brian Barry-Murphy made four changes to his starting eleven from Good Friday’s win over Wycombe Wanderers.
Jimmy Keohane, MJ Williams, Stephen Dooley and Hamilton came in for Ryan McLaughlin, Kgosi Ntlhe, Ollie Rathbone and Matty Done.
In an even first-half of few chances, Jim McNulty blocked well and Jonson Clarke-Harris fired over for the hosts.
Ian Henderson sent a curling first-time effort narrowly wide of the upright from the edge of the area before Hamilton tried his luck from the same distance, but fired his effort straight at Rovers stopper Jack Bonham.
The Gas’ best chance came when Liam Sercombe picked up on a loose pass out, rounded Ethan Ebanks-Landell, but fired wide of the far post, befre Ed Upson sent an effort wide from 20-yards.
Dale created the first chance of the second-half when Aaron Wilbraham nodded down Hamilton’s cross into the path of Dooley, who scuffed a half volley wide of the far post.
Lillis made a strong stop to deny Clarke-Harris after he had brought down a diagonal ball well, before the Rovers forward headed wide a back-post cross.
Henderson and Sercombe exchanged efforts off target, before Dale grabbed the all-important goal with nine minutes remaining.
Bunney sent a cross to the back post where Henderson kept it alive, rolling the back for Hamilton who sent a looping effort into the far corner.
Clarke-Harris fired an effort well over before superb defending from Ebanks-Landell kept the home side at bay.
Substitute Rekeil Pyke shot wide after a counter-attack, and despite late pressure from the hosts, Dale held out for what could prove to be a defining win.