Rochdale bowed out of the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night after a draw against Salford City, coupled with a penalty shootout loss and an Accrington Stanley win in their respective fixture, meant that Dale finished third in Norther group D.
Ian Henderson had put Jim Bentley’s side ahead shortly before the interval, but two second half goals in as many minutes saw the Ammies turn the game on its head. Liam Kelly superbly equalised for Rochdale in stoppage time, to take the game to penalties. The visitors won the shootout.
There were seven changes from the weekend as Ben Nelson, Jim McNulty, Cameron John, Ethan Brierley, Connor Malley, Tyrese Sinclair and Ian Henderson all came into the starting eleven.
Both teams had one big opportunity each during what was a relatively even half, before Henderson broke the deadlock shortly before half-time.
After just five minutes, Abraham Odoh played the ball into the feet of Malley, who blazed his shot over the bar.
Soon after the half hour mark, former Dale midfielder Matty Lund was denied by the woodwork. Richard O’Donnell had initially parried away Odin Bailey’s well struck effort, and as it fell kindly for Lund, he saw his header come crashing off the bar.
Henderson, against his former employees, opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. He got across Ethan Galbraith to superbly head home from Sinclair’s ball in from the right.
After the break, Brierley and Malley both had shots well blocked by the Salford defence, before Brierley had a cross turned behind.
A triple Rochdale change followed with 66 minutes on the clock with Odoh, John and Toumani Diagouraga making way for Rayhaan Tulloch, Femi Seriki and Scott Quigley.
Two goals in as many minutes then saw the Ammies turn the game on its head.
Elliott Simoes equalised for the visitors in the 69th minute, striking beyond O’Donnell and into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
After Sinclair had a shot from 20-yards well held, Salford City then went straight up the other end and put themselves in front through Callum Hendry, who from inside the area, struck into the far bottom corner.
Substitute Quigley was forced off in the 78th minute through injury and was replaced by Kelly. Max Taylor made his return from injury, coming on for Ben Nelson.
Rochdale rallied during the closing stages and Kelly had a free-kick from 20-yards beaten behind by Jacob Chapman.
And in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Kelly levelled proceedings. From Seriki’s low ball into the area, he lifted the ball up and over the ‘keeper with a fine finish.
The goal took the game to penalties, but Dale lost the shootout 4-2 after Henderson and Jimmy Keohane failed to convert, meaning Salford secured the extra bonus point.
That, coupled with Accrington Stanley’s win over Liverpool under-21s, means that Rochdale bowed out of the competition.