Ethan Hamilton’s second-half goal secured Dale’s first three points of 2019 with a 2-1 win over Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell opened the scoring in the 4th minute, rifling home a half-volley into the top corner, before the hosts equalised through Joe Edwards before the break.
Hamilton’s composed finish restored the lead 14 minutes into the second period, and Dale held on for a hard-earned three points.
Keith Hill named an unchanged side from last weekend’s outing at Barnsley, with new signings Rekeil Pyke and Joe Bunney on the substitute’s bench.
Dale got off to the perfect start, breaking the deadlock inside four minutes.
After Ian Henderson had already sent a driven effort narrowly over from 25-yards, Ebanks-Landell’s touch and half-volley from Rory Holden’s corner found the far top corner for his first Dale goal.
The goalscorer glanced another header wide of the far post from Stephen Dooley’s free-kick, either side of Calvin Andrew headers from set-pieces which flew narrowly off target, as Dale dominated the opening stages.
However, the home side grew into the game and levelled nine minutes before the break through a fine solo effort from Edwards.
He carried the ball from just inside the Dale half to the edge of the area, before firing beyond the outstretched Josh Lillis into the bottom corner.
Morgan Farrier fired over from a tight angle for Walsall and Ethan Hamilton saw a well-hit strike blocked for Dale, as the half came to a close.
After the break, Ferrier forced Lillis into a good stop low down, before a Walsall defender just got in front of Andrew before he could turn home Ryan Delaney’s cross.
Pyke came on for Holden for his debut and just minutes later Dale retook the lead.
Delaney found Hamilton who took a touch past a defender before coolly slotting the ball into the far bottom corner from inside the area.
The home side almost put through their own net moments later when a defender headed Dooley’s free-kick narrowly wide, before Andrew saw a deflected shot loop into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Edwards tried to double his tally for the home side with a speculative effort from distance which dipped narrowly over, before shouts of a Walsall penalty were waved away when Aramide Oteh went down after rounding Lillis.
Matt Jarvis saw a shot well blocked and Andy Cook headed wide from a corner, before Lillis held onto a header in the 97th minute in the final action of the game, to secure Dale’s first three points since Boxing Day.