A wonder goal from Joe Pritchard wasn’t enough to make it a happy 57th birthday for John Coleman as Rochdale ran out 2-1 winners at the Crown Oil Arena.
Rochdale striker Ian Henderson scored either side of half-time to secure the three points for Dale despite Pritchard blasting a 30-yard effort into the top corner of the net – his first Stanley goal.
It was frustrating for Stanley who had numerous chances, including a powerful header for Colby Bishop at the end, but couldn’t turn them into three points.
Defender Callum Johnson suffered a late groin injury and, with winger Sean McConville also out injured (shoulder), it meant Coleman had to shuffle his pack.
Offrande Zanzala made his first league start since New Year’s Day while Lamine Kaba Sherif came into the starting XI, as Stanley started with three at the back.
Chances were at a premium in the first half but the Reds were ruing missed opportunities.
Jordan Clark was lively and played a number of good balls into the box which no one could get on the end of while the winger had a couple of shots he couldn’t find the target with.
Zanzala had two strong efforts blocked while Sam Finley tried his luck from distance twice but didn’t test Dale keeper Robert Sanchez.
The home stopper was eventually called into action on 37 minutes from Clark but it was comfortable for him – the first shot on target in the game.
Dale took the lead on 40 minutes with their first efforts on goal. Ollie Rathbone’s long range effort wasn’t held onto by Dimi Evtimov and Henderson followed it up from a tight angle.
Henderson raced through minutes later and tried to chip over Evtimov but it was into the side netting – a let-off for Stanley.
Phil Edwards came on at the break for Kaba Sherif as Stanley went to four at the back for the second half.
However striker Henderson made it two four minutes after the re-start when Stanley’s defence didn’t cope with a ball over the top and the Dale man ran onto it and chipped it over Evtimov for his eighth goal of the season.
Winger Pritchard then got Stanley back in it on 53 minutes with his 30-yard screamer.
Clark was denied an equaliser minutes later when he too had a go from 30 yards with Sanchez one-handedly keeping the ball out.
The winger then fired just wide for the Reds while there was pin-ball around the Dale area with 10 minutes left but no one in a white shirt could get a clean shot on goal.
Sanchez was Dale’s match saviour at the end pulling off a superb point blank save to keep out Bishop’s header from Pritchard’s corner and Clark couldn't connect with the ball with almost the last kick of the game as Rochdale held on.