Dale were knocked out of the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup at the semi-final stage by Wigan Athletic.
A young squad consisting of mostly first-year scholars and under-16 players dominated the opening period without breaking the deadlock.
Florent Hoti cushioned a volley wide from Louis White’s inch perfect ball over the top, whilst low crosses from Joe Wright and Joe Dunne were close to being turned home in the middle.
Musambya Kisimba had a shot well held at the near post from a tight angle, before efforts from Wright and White ended off target.
Goalkeeper Morgan Piper made a couple of strong saves before the break but there was nothing he could do to prevent Wigan’s opener after the break, when a mishit cross found the far top corner in fortuitous circumstances for the hosts.
Hoti had a shot well saved in response, but Wigan score a further two in six minutes to take the game away from Dale.
The visitors continued to push though, with White seeing an effort from distance held well and Kisimba fired over from 25-yards.
Dale struck the woodwork when Dunne’s cross was played back by Fabio Tavares for substitute Adam Cullen who struck the crossbar, before Tavares’ follow up went wide.
White then saw a cross evade everybody in the area and strike the far post, before Wigan added another two inside the final five minutes to make the score line seem more emphatic than it was.
Morgan Moreland showed a great touch to bring down White’s perfectly weighted ball but he fired wide with Dale’s final effort of the game.