Fabio Tavares netted a 90th minute winner, as Rochdale secured three points from a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Fleetwood Town at the Crown Oil Arena.
Dale were superb against the Cod Army, dominating throughout the first half and during long-spells of the second period.
Matty Lund put Rochdale ahead after 13 minutes but the visitors equalised against the run of play in the 77th. Substitute Tavares fired home at the death to ensure Dale recorded their first league win of the campaign.
Rochdale had a strong claim for a penalty turned down in the third minute, when Jake Beesley rounded Alex Cairns and was brought to ground by the Fleetwood Town goalkeeper, only for a spot-kick not to be awarded.
The early opportunity set the tone for the half as Brian Barry-Murphy’s dominated the first 45 minutes.
Ten minutes later, Ollie Rathbone’s header from a Jimmy Keohane cross was superbly kept out by Cairns and Beesley went on to win a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Dale deservedly opened the scoring through Lund. The midfielder met Matty Done’s ball into the area, glancing a header into the far bottom corner.
He came close to netting his second of the afternoon soon after, but he was denied by a fine Cairns save, having fired a powerful driving effort towards the top right-hand corner.
Rochdale continued on the ascendancy, carving out opportunities and earning a string of corners, while nullifying the opposition.
Beesley narrowly headed over from a corner, while Keohane had a header held and Cairns claimed a left-footed shot from Alex Newby.
With a minute of the half remaining, Eoghan O’Connell and Paul McShane combined superbly well to block Paddy Madden’s strike, as the visitors threatened before the interval.
HT | ROCHDALE 1-0 FLEETWOOD TOWN
Done almost doubled Dale’s advantaged five minutes into the second half, when his whipped free-kick into the area came crashing off the cross bar.
Dooley also came close to getting his name on the score sheet, as he flashed a snapshot inches wide of the upright.
Morley then tested directly from a corner, forcing Cairns to tip his inswinging cross over the bar, as Dale edge closer to a second.
But with their first shot on target, the Cod Army equalised against the run of play in the 77th minutes. A ball in from the left fell kindly for Harvey Saunders, who swept it into the far corner.
Captain Eoghan O’Connell came to the rescue soon when he cleared a loose ball off the line, as the visitors very nearly took the lead.
The two moments didn't dent Dale's stride and they continued in search of the second goal they deserved.
The Fleetwood goalkeeper produced an outstanding one-handed save to deny a Lund header, but the goal came a minute later when Tavares, who had come on as a substitute for Newby five minutes earlier, blasted home on the rebound after Done’s shot had been parried into his path by Cairns.
FT | Rochdale 2-1 Fleetwood Town