Dale were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, after a 1-0 defeat at Hereford FC.
Ethan Freemantle’s 78th minute goal proved to be the difference in a game where Dale saw the majority of the ball but couldn’t find a route to goal.
Jimmy McNulty made three changes to the side from last weekend. Cian Hayes made his full debut, whilst Kyle Ferguson and Ian Henderson returned to the starting line-up. First-year scholars Corey Edwards and Isaac Burgess were on the substitute’s bench.
Dale controlled the opening stages of the tie, with Ryan East being denied by two saves from Hereford goalkeeper Curtis Pond, whilst he and Adam Clayton both had efforts from the edge of the area well blocked by the home defence.
Henderson did have the ball in the back of the net, but his header from Hayes’ whipped cross was ruled out for offside.
The hosts had arguably the best chance of the opening period, when veteran Adam Rooney latched on to a ball over the top of the Dale defence, but his well-struck volley was turned over by the superb, outstretched arm of Louie Moulden.
Hayes had a decent opportunity for Dale, meeting Sinclair’s cross at the back post with a volley, but he didn’t fully catch the chance, firing into the arms of Pond.
The Fleetwood Town loanee also had the final effort of the half, forcing the goalkeeper into a low save with a right foot effort, after being found by Harvey Gilmour.
After the break, Hayes continued to be a threat, seeing a shot blocked and another well saved by Pond after stepping inside a defender.
Moulden had to make a strong save to his left to deny Alex Babos, whilst Pond also had to make a fingertip save to turn Gilmour’s free-kick over the bar.
Kwaku Oduroh made a superb block on the line to deny Freemantle, but the Hereford man converted the only goal of the game minutes later, finishing off after the hosts had stolen possession off Dale high up the pitch.
McNulty’s men saw plenty of the ball as they pushed to try and find an equaliser, but they couldn’t test Pond in the Hereford net, and this season’s FA Cup campaign came to an end at the first hurdle.
Dale XI | Moulden, East, Ebanks-Landell, Sinclair, Clayton, Keohane, Oduroh, Hayes, Gilmour, Ferguson, Henderson.
Unused subs | B Kelly, Rodney, Uchegbulam, McDermott, Afuye, Edwards, Burgess