Rochdale extended their unbeaten run to four on Saturday, as Matty Done netted deep in stoppage time to grab a last-gasp equaliser against Crewe Alexandra.
It was the least Dale deserved, after the Railwaymen had taken the lead from a controversial spot-kick on 90 minutes.
Conor Shaughnessy picked up a loose ball and thread it through to Done, who poked beyond Will Jaaskelainen from close range in the 97th minute to claim a point for Dale at the Alexandra Stadium.
Manager Brian Barry-Murphy named an unchanged eleven for match, although there was a return to the bench for Stephen Humphrys following his recovery from the hamstring injury that had kept him sidelined since last month.
After starting the game brightly, Rochdale came close to opening the scoring on six minutes, when Ollie Rathbone came charging in at the back post post to meet a corner. He saw his header take a deflection off Anthony Evans, sending it narrowly wide of the upright. Jasskelainen came to punch away the resulting corner, and after Dale kept possession, Conor Grant swung a delivery into the area, but it was just too high for the waiting Jake Beesley.
Captain Eoghan O’Connell then had a shot from a Morley free-kick into the box blocked, while Beesley, who got on the end of a corner had his header well-held by the ‘keeper.
Although Rochdale looked comfortable as they worked to create an opening, the home side tested on a couple of occasions.
From the edge of the area, Charlie Kirk struck into the ground and saw his effort held by Lynch. The Dale goalkeeper was also equal to Chris Porter’s skewed shot soon after.
Jimmy Keohane went for goal from just outside the area, as he attempted to curl his shot low into the far corner, but his effort was blocked. Less than sixty seconds later and Dale were in again, as Jaaskelainen kept out Rathbone’s strike.
A short time later, the ‘keeper got down to his left to get a hand to Beesley’s shot through a packed box, after the Rochdale forward had linked up with Grant.
Deep in stoppage time at the end of the first half, Dale had a chance to break the deadlock with their best opportunity of the half. After a well-worked move, Ryan McLaughlin dug out a dangerous cross from the right which was met by Keohane inside the six-yard box, but he couldn’t keep his stooping header down and it flew over the bar.
FT | CREWE ALEXANDRA 0-0 ROCHDALE
Rochdale piled on the pressure during the opening exchanges of the second half but couldn’t find their way past the resolute Crewe Alex defence.
And against the run of play, the hosts squandered an opportunity. Mikael Mandron sent Luke Murphy in on goal, heading down into his path, but Murphy who swung a leg at it missed the ball completely at the vital moment and the opportunity was gone.
Up the other end, shortly before the hour, Morley sent the ball out to McLaughlin whose shot/ cross troubled Jasskelainen, forcing him to punch it over the bar.
Ten minutes later there was a double substitution, as Done replaced Grant and Stephen Humphrys made his return from injury, replacing Stephen Dooley.
Immediately after the introductions, Dale were in on goal. From Morley’s delivery, O’Connell had a header from close range kept out by the ‘keeper.
There was an outstanding save from Lynch soon after, as he dived to his left to punch away Evans’ strike which looked destined for the top corner. A short time later he also got down to get his foot on a Kirk short to see it away at the near post.
Rochdale’s third substitution followed in the 78th minute, when Paul McShane was forced off through injury and replaced by Kwadwo Baah.
Morley and Gabriel Osho both had shots blocked as Dale went for goal from range, before Crewe’s Kirk sliced an effort well-wide, up the other end.
With five minutes left to play, Rochdale made a fourth substitution, with Conor Shaughnessy replacing Rathbone.
Sixty seconds later and Baah drove along the edge of the area before getting a shot away, firing wide of the far post.
With a minute of the 90 remaining, Crewe were awarded a contentious penalty. Lynch saved Kirk’s initial spot-kick but the ‘keeper couldn’t keep him out on the rebound as he tapped home.
Dale threw everything at the hosts during the seven minutes of stoppage time and Done netted right at the death to rescue a deserved point.
Shaughnessy picked up a loose ball and thread it through to Done, who poked beyond Jaaskelainen from close range.
FT | CREWE ALEXANDRA 1-1 ROCHDALE