The Youth Team kicked off their EFL Youth Alliance Cup campaign with a 4-1 win over Notts County on Tuesday.
Dale were 3-0 ahead by half-time, thanks to goals from second-year scholar Musambya Kisimba and under-16s Ben Kershaw and Peter Thomas.
Adam Cullen scored a fourth after the break, before the visitors netted a consolation goal from the penalty spot.
The opening goal came after 13 minutes, when Kisimba slid in at the near post to turn home Thomas’ low cross from the right.
A second followed less than four minutes later, through a header from Kershaw. Kisimba crossed to the far post where Thomas headed back across goal, for Kershaw to flick a header home from the edge of the six-yard box.
Kisimba then headed a cross over the bar, before Dale made it 3-0 on the half hour mark in fine fashion.
Kershaw turned provider for the goal, clipping a ball over the Notts County defence for Thomas to run onto, and with the goalkeeper off his line, he lifted the ball over the stopper’s head first-time and into the back of the net.
Dale had numerous chances to add to their total before the break, with Cullen and Morgan Kinsella firing efforts straight at the goalkeeper.
Luke Nock’s spectacular effort from nearly 30-yards cannoned back off the face of the crossbar, whilst Cullen saw an effort saved by the legs of the visiting stopper after a run into the penalty area.
At the break, under-15 Anisio Jesus replaced goal scorer Thomas, making his Youth Team debut, and he was involved in Dale’s first move of the second period.
After fine build-up play, Jesus found Kisimba, who pulled the ball back for Toby Phillips. However, he fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area with his first-time effort.
Dale goalkeeper Morgan Piper pulled off a spectacular fingertip save, turning a curling effort from distance onto the underside of the crossbar.
Cullen’s goal – Dale’s fourth – came three minutes after the hour mark. Kershaw’s diagonal pass was perfectly weighted, dropping over the head of the Notts full-back, allowing Cullen to bring the ball down and poke a finish into the far corner.
The visitors grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot minutes later, after Piper upended a visiting forward in the area. The spot kick gave the Dale stopper no chance, finding the top corner.
Nock fired a free-kick over the crossbar from 25-yards, whilst under-15s Zack Greenwell and Paul Kyffin also made their Youth Team debuts, as Dale ended up convincing winners.
Dale XI | Piper, Wright, Kinsella, Dunne, Mialkowski, Nock, Phillips, Kershaw, Thomas, Kisimba, Cullen.
Subs | Chalton, Greenwell, Watts, Kyffin, Jesus.