Rochdale hit five past Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night in an entertaining encounter to earn a place in Round Two of the Carabao Cup.
Dale twice came from behind in the victory, netting four second half goals to turn the game on its head.
Ronan Darcy’s 14th minute strike was cancelled out by Ian Henderson’s spot-kick shortly before the half hour mark, and the sides went in level at the break.
Wanderers edged back in front two minutes into the second half through Dennis Politic, but two goals in two minutes – with Rekeil Pyke and Callum Camps opening their accounts for the season – saw Dale take the lead for the first time in the match.
Rochdale were in command and put the game out of reach when Camps netted his second of the evening and Dale’s fourth. Ollie Rathbone rounded off the scoring.
Much was made about how the majority of Bolton’s line-up was made up of their under 23 squad, sprinkled with experience, but it should be noted that Dale's squad contained 12 players aged 23 or under, including five Academy graduates and a 16-year-old.
Rochdale started the first half strongly and enjoyed the best of the action during the opening exchanges. Matty Done came closest to opening the scoring from an excellent Dale move, but his effort was kept out by Remi Matthews who pushed this effort behind.
And it was two minutes later the visitors opened the scoring against the run of play, when Darcy struck home from 25-yards and beyond Robert Sanchez, who looked to have slipped trying to make the save.
The goal gave Wanderers some impetus and the Dale goalkeeper produced a fine reaction save to deny Dennis Politic a short time later.
But during the final 20 minutes of the half it was all Rochdale, and they entertained.
In the 27th minute Dale were awarded a penalty after Camps proved to be a handful for Yoan Zouma, having been played in on goal by MJ Williams. He was upended and Henderson converted the spot-kick to level proceedings.
Rochdale were then twice denied by the woodwork in as many minutes.
Done’s brilliant strike from 25-yards had beaten Matthews and looked destined for top corner of the net, but it was kept out by the crossbar. Meanwhile, Jimmy McNulty saw his header come crashing off the bar after getting on the end of an Aaron Morley free-kick.
In stoppage time, there was an opportunity for Henderson, but his back-heel went wide of the target.
HT | Rochdale 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Two minutes after the break, the visitors edged back in front. Politic got away from debutant Tyler Magloire and finished under Sanchez at the near post.
There were big shouts for a handball inside the area in the 53rd minute but the referee was quick to wave away the appeals for a Dale penalty.
What proved to be inspired substitutions came in the 61st minute, as Done and Morley made way for Pyke and Rathbone in a double switch.
And it took just three minutes for the on loan Huddersfield forward to level proceedings, when he glanced a header beyond Matthews from a Stephen Dooley cross.
Two minutes later, Rochdale were ahead as Camps fired home from the edge of the area.
Dale were in the ascendancy and soon after, Brian Barry-Murphy’s side were in on goal again. Henderson was kept out by Matthews, and as they kept the pressure on, Rathbone firstly had a shot blocked, before having one cleared off the line.
So it was no surprise when Camps netted his second of the evening and Dale’s fourth. A corner was sent to the back post for MJ Williams to head back into the mix and Camps struck home.
In the 81st minute, Calvin Andrew replaced Henderson, in Rochdale’s final change of the game.
With four minutes left to play, Rathbone, who was returning to the side having recovered from the challenge that forced him off at Tranmere Rovers on the opening day of the campaign, rounded off the scoring and a memorable night at the Crown Oil Arena. Dooley with another assist, providing the cross that saw the midfielder power a head beyond Matthews in the Bolton goal.
FT | ROCHDALE 5-2 BOLTON WANDERERS