Dale were beaten 3-2 at AFC Wimbledon despite a second-half fightback that could have seen them take something from the game.
The Dons were 3-0 up at the break, thanks to goals from Marcus Forss, Paul Osew and Mitch Pinnock.
Ian Henderson, starting on the bench after picking up an illness overnight, came off to notch a brace, but Dale ultimately fell just short of snatching a point.
The hosts took the lead inside the opening two minutes, when an inswinging cross was headed partially clear as far as Forss, who fired home a superb volley from just inside the area.
Aaron Morley had an effort from 25-yards well blocked, before Joe Pigott nodded a cross from the left wide for the visitors.
AFC Wimbledon doubled their advantage Scott Wagstaff’s low ball from the right found Osew at the back-post, who slotted home from close range.
They added a third shortly before the half hour mark, when Pinnock’s low drive from outside the area went through the legs of Calvin Andrew and nestled in the bottom corner.
Callum Camps glanced a header wide of the far post from Luke Matheson’s cross, whilst Aaron Wilbraham’s goalbound effort took a deflection making it comfortable for the goalkeeper.
He was then denied again by the home stopper when he turned Rhys Norrington-Davies’ low ball goalwards, but Nathan Trott turned it behind for a corner.
Ian Henderson came on 11 minutes after the break and had a chance almost immediately, nodding Matheson’s clip into the area wide of the far post.
Ollie Rathbone curled an effort over the crossbar, before Trott made a superb save to deny Fabio Tavares who cushioned Norrington-Davies’ cross goalwards, turning the ball over the bar.
Rathbone fired an effort into the ground which was well held, before Jimmy Keohane cleared an Anthony Wordsworth strike off the line.
Henderson pulled one back for Dale midway through the second period, turning home Rathbone’s pull back with a first-time strike.
It was all Dale from there on, and Henderson turned wide from close range after Wilbraham had turned a Rathbone cross back across goal, before Rathbone himself fired a dipping effort off the inside of the upright, with the ball flying across the goal line and behind for a goal kick.
Camps had the ball in the back of the net two minutes from time, but was flagged offside from Norrington-Davies ball across the area.
Dale did grab another, through Henderson in the 95th minute, when he looped a header over Trott following the goalkeeper’s save from Camps’ shot.
It was the last action of the game though, as Dale were forced to leave the Cherry Red Records Stadium with nothing to show for their efforts.