Rochdale left the Keepmoat Stadium empty handed on Tuesday night, after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers.
Jon Taylor’s 32nd minute goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.
There were two changes to the eleven that lined-up against Wigan Athletic at the weekend. Ryan McLaughlin and Stephen Dooley came in for Jim McNulty and Matty Done.
It was a relatively quiet start to the match, as both teams looked comfortable in their pursuit of getting a foot hold in the game, it was Dale who threatened first with 11 minutes on the clock.
After Stephen Humphrys broke forward, Kwadwo Baah had a couple of efforts blocked, before the hosts also stood firm to repel a shot from Dooley.
Ollie Rathbone struck narrowly wide from distance a minute later, while Matty Lund fired a fierce strike past the post from range, after the ball had come to him after Baah had a shot blocked from a Dooley cross in from the right.
After Elliot Simoes got into the area in the 17th minute, there was good work from Dooley to track back and get a block on the shot, doing enough to take it wide of the target and into the hands of Gavin Bazunu who got down easily to hold.
Forays into the box had been limited for Rovers but they broke they deadlock against the run of play shortly after the hour through Taylor. He swept home close range after a diagonal ball, which was headed back into the mix, fell kindly for him.
Humphrys saw a strike deflected into the hands of Ellery Balcombe, as Rochdale went in search of an equaliser.
Up the other end, Bazunu got a hand to a Cameron John shot, hooking it up and away before Baah cleared the danger.
In stoppage time, Aaron Morley clipped a ball into the box, and while a brave Jake Beesley attacked it, Balcombe got there just before him and held. Dale didn’t deserve to behind after their first half showing, but Doncaster took a slender lead into the break.
HT | DONCASTER ROVERS 1-0 ROCHDALE
Beesley was forced off through injury less than 10 minutes into the second half and was replaced by Alex Newby, in Rochdale’s first change of the game.
The two well-organised cancelled each other out and allowed for very few opportunities on goal, as both sides defended resolutely, although Dale had the most notable of the chances.
Humphrys broke into the area on the left, but his final ball was collected by Ballcombe. He later headed over the bar from a Morley free-kick into the area.
Late on, there was a well-worked move by Dale which resulted in Baah getting past Brad Halliday and into the area before having a shot blocked at the near post. There were shouts for a handball in the aftermath, but the referee wasn’t interested in the appeals from the Rochdale players.
FT | DONCASTER ROVERS 1-0 ROCHDALE