Tranmere Rovers continued their resurgence under Ronnie Moore with a professional win which leaves Rochdale five points from safety in League One.
James Wallace put the visitors ahead when he capitalised on a mistake by Jason Kennedy and curled the ball home.
Wallace almost added a second after the break while at the other end, Gary Jones hit a post for Dale from a deflected free-kick.
But substitute Jake Cassidy did make it 2-0 when he fired in from 18 yards.
The win sees Tranmere move seven points clear of the drop zone.
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Rochdale manager John Coleman told BBC Radio Manchester:
"I can't explain it. The frustrating thing for me is we've lost four games and they've all been on a Tuesday night.
"Tonight just isn't acceptable in the first half. In the second half we were a lot better.
"We've got a certain way of playing which heavily involves passing the ball and we couldn't pass the ball tonight.
"It's not a case of tiredness, we were just poor tonight. Our passing was poor, we didn't close them down or react quick enough."
Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore told BBC Radio Merseyside:
"In the first half I thought we were fantastic and I think that's the best we've been since I've been here.
"I think overall, we were the better side.
"We're still not safe, we know that and there is still a lot of work to do.
"We need four more points now, maybe five, to be safe and if we can get the same result on Saturday it will take us a long way to being safe."