Dale were denied a deserved point when an 89th minute strike saw Sunderland claim a 2-1 win at the Crown Oil Arena.
Ian Henderson’s 19th of the season put Dale in front shortly before the half hour mark, but Charlie Wyke equalised for the visitors 11 minutes after the restart.
The visitors claimed all three points with a goal a minute from time, when substitute George Honeyman turned home a low ball at the near post.
Brian Barry-Murphy named an unchanged starting eleven for his first game in charge as permanent manager.
Automatic promotion chasing Sunderland created the first opportunities of the game, as Dylan McGeouch forced Josh Lillis into a comfortable save, before the Dale stopper had to be at his best to deny Will Grigg.
Lynden Gooch’s cross found Charlie Wyke who saw an effort superbly blocked by Ethan Ebanks-Landell, before Grigg poked the loose ball goalwards which Lillis clawed away after flying to his right.
Jim McNulty then put in another superb challenge to deny Wyke, before Dale broke the deadlock with their first real chance of the game.
Ebanks-Landell’s cross to the back post was kept alive by Joe Bunney, whose first-time low ball fell kindly for Henderson to take a touch and convert from six-yards.
Ollie Rathbone was inches away from doubling the lead with a speculative half-volley, which had Sunderland stopper Jon McLaughlin scrambling.
Sunderland’s January signing Grigg was denied by an Ebanks-Landell block, before Lillis had to turn over a curling effort from Max Power shortly before the break.
Henderson had the final chance of the game for Dale, when a ball in from the left ricocheted off a Sunderland defender and into his path, but he skewed an effort wide of the near post from an extremely tight angle.
After a quiet opening to the second period, the visitors levelled matters in the 56th minute, when Wyke received the ball to feet just inside the area, turned and fired a low effort beyond Lillis.
The Dale stopper was then out quickly at the feet of Grigg to deny him, before his opposite number McLaughlin had to race back to his own net and turn the ball over the crossbar when his own defender had inadvertently looped a clearance over his head.
From the resulting corner, Henderson headed a deep delivery back across goal to Ntlhe, whose nod down was turned wide by Aaron Wilbraham.
Matty Done and Wilbraham were replaced by Stephen Dooley and Jordan Williams midway through the period, with the latter glancing wide Bunney’s cross soon after coming on.
Kgosi Ntlhe saw a spectacular effort drift wide of the upright, when he flicked wide Camps’ first-time strike from outside the area.
It looked like Dale were heading for a well-deserved point, until the visitors stole three points with a minute remaining, when Luke O’Nien’s pull back from the right was turned home by Honeyman.