Goals from Jimmy Keohane, Jake Beesley and Conor Shaughnessy ensured back-to-back wins at home for this first time this season, following the midweek win over Swindon Town at the Crown Oil Arena.
Keohane opened the scoring on 10 minutes, only for Stanley to equalise, arguably against the run of play, three minutes later through Ben Barclay. Beesley put Dale back in front on 66 minutes, before Shaughnessy made sure of the points in stoppage time.
Manager Brian Barry-Murphy named an unchanged eleven for the game.
It was one way traffic during the opening exchanges as Rochdale started brightly and they deservedly opened the scoring after 10 minutes.
They had caused problems shortly before, when Ryan McLaughlin got to the byline and sent an inviting ball into the area. Unfortunately a stretching Conor Grant was unable to make a clear connection with it, and his header went wide of the upright.
Dale broke the deadlock minutes later, as Keohane netted his second in as many games and his eighth of the season. A superb team move resulted in Ollie Rathbone back-heeling a pass into the path of Keohane on the edge of the area, who curled his effort into the far top corner. It was almost a carbon copy of his goal on Tuesday against Swindon Town.
Against the run of play, the visitors equalised three minutes later, when Barclay headed home David Morgan’s cross to the back post.
Despite conceding so soon after going ahead, the goal didn’t knock Dale off their stride and they continued in the same positive fashion they had started the game.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Conor Grant, who has scored his first senior goal midweek, came within inches of adding his name to the scoresheet, but he was denied by the woodwork. After being picked out by Aaron Morley with a fine clipped ball, Rathbone drove past his marker before laying the ball off to Grant, whose effort cannoned back off the post.
Soon after, Rathbone fired narrowly wide of the upright.
On the hour, Jay Lynch pulled off an important save to keep out Sean McConville’s free-kick which looked destined for the back of the net. The Dale ‘keeper flew to his right to palm the shot away.
Rochdale dominated throughout the latter stages and they came forward time and time again.
Beesley came within inches of a meeting a great McLaughlin ball into the box and as it ricocheted off Keohane, he almost tuned it beyond Toby Savin, but watched on as it bounced narrowly wide.
Meanwhile, Rathbone and McLaughlin both had shots blocked.
HT | ROCHDALE 1-1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
After the break, Accrington produced the first save of the second half early on, when Lynch did well to get his body in the way of a Paul Smyth shot before Captain Eoghan O’Connell cleared the danger.
But it was Rochdale who were dominating possession and a spell of Dale pressure followed, as Stanley were forced to defend a string of corners. And it was during this spell that Rochdale were denied by the woodwork for a second time during the game. Rathbone’s shot-come-cross towards the back post stung the palms of Slavin, as he pushed it up and agonisingly onto the crossbar.
Rochdale’s deserved second finally came in the 66th minute. Gabriel Osho, from Morley’s clipped ball into the area from a free-kick, had an effort kept out by the ‘keeper, but Beesley was there to slot home the rebound.
Brian Barry-Murphy’s side continued on the ascendancy and Stephen Dooley and McLaughlin both had shots blocked, after well-worked moves into the area.
Dale then two penalty shouts turned down in quick succession, as Keohane was firstly felled before Grant also went ground. Neither were given and Dooley had a shot deflected wide of the upright.
Rochdale’s first substitution of the game followed in the 83rd minute, with Dooley making way for Alex Newby.
Soon after, Rathbone saw his low delivery flash across the face of goal, but there was no-one there to see it over the line, and, up the other end, Lynch held onto Jonny Russell header.
There was a switch of the Conor’s with two minutes of the 90 remaining, as Shaughnessy replaced Grant, and he had an almost immediate impact.
Just four minutes after his introduction, Shaughnessy made sure of the three points, netting Dale’s third of the afternoon. Morley turned a high ball forward which Beesley chased down, however Savin got there first. He hit his clearance straight to Shaughnessy, who calmly stroked home from 40-yards and into the empty net.
Before the game was out, Matthew Lund made his return from injury, coming on for Morley.
FT | ROCHDALE 3-1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY