Tahvon Campbell’s second half goal secured three points for Rochdale at home to Northampton Town on Saturday.
The goal, eight minutes after the break, ensured a deserved victory for Robbie Stockdale’s side against the Cobblers who went into the match second in the Sky Bet League Two table.
The win rounded off a good week for Dale, following the win over Scunthorpe United last weekend and the draw with Port Vale midweek, making it seven points from an available nine.
There were three changes for Tuesday night’s game against Port Vale, as Jimmy Keohane returned from injury to start his first game since November, replacing Corey O’Keeffe, while Liam Kelly and Matty Done came in for Stephen Dooley and Conor Grant, respectively.
Both teams had a couple of opportunities during the opening exchanges. Alex Newby had a shot well-blocked early on, after being picked out by Max Clark’s first time pass, while Paul Lewis was couldn’t get a clean connection on Josh Eppiah’s dangerous fizzing ball in from the left and the chance was gone.
The match was then stop start for a 15 minute spell due to a number of stoppages due to injury, including a clash of heads. Thankfully after being treated and bandaged up, he was fine to continue.
As the game got going again, Rochdale had the best chance of the first half, on 26 minutes. Done did brilliantly to get around Fraser Horsfall and beat him to the byline before sent an inviting ball across the face of goal. Liam Roberts flew to his left to keep out Jimmy Keohane with a fine save, before Newby struck over the bar on the follow up.
On the half hour, Jon Guthrie drove forward and fired wide of the far post for the visitors.
Soon after, Eoghan O’Connell had a header from corner cleared away as it looked destined for the top corner.
Done came with a couple of agonising inches of meeting Keohane’s dangerous cross from the right, but it was just above him and the ball was put behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Roberts came to tip Liam Kelly’s delivery behind for another.
There was one change the break as Ball made way or Stephen Dooley.
Rochdale broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half. Newby put a cross to the back post for Clark who sent it goalwards. Campbell got in front of his marker and turned the ball beyond the ‘keeper and into the far corner from just inside the six-yard box.
Immediately after, a Cobblers player came close to turning a Kelly corner into his own net, but it crept wide and behind for another. From this delivery, Max Taylor got on the end of it and sent a header narrowly past the post.
Dale came forward again a short time later and Done dug out a cross, sending it into the area. It skimmed the top of Newby’s head as he tried to rise highest to meet it, and as the ball fell for Kelly, he fired just over the bar.
With a quarter of an hour left to play, Done went off to a standing ovation and was replaced by O’Keeffe, before Grant came on for Newby soon after, and under the rules of a concussion substitution, goalscorer Campbell made way for Luke Charman with four minutes left to play.
Into stoppage time, Sam Hoskins turned Keohane’s ball over the bar with some last ditch defending.
And with the visitors failing to trouble Dale during the second half, Rochdale secured three well-deserved points.