Former Rochdale manager Keith Hill left empty-handed on his return to Spotland as his Bolton side were beaten 2-0.
Wanderers were close to scoring inside 10 minutes when Toto Nsiala’s cross from the left was nodded down by Daryl Murphy into the path of debutant Ethan Hamilton and his volley was deflected onto the post with Dale goalkeeper Robert Sanchez wrong-footed.
Teenage full-back Luke Matheson had been a thorn in Bolton’s side throughout the first half and he scored the opening goal in the 43rd minute.
Fellow youngster Kwadwo Baah fed him the ball and the 18-year-old skipped round a defender before thumping a shot past Remi Matthews and into the roof of the net.
Hamilton saw an effort smash against the crossbar and had three shots saved by Sanchez during a purple patch for Bolton at the start of the second half.
The goal which settled a superb contest arrived in the 80th minute when Dale worked the ball from the left-hand corner infield, Jimmy Keohane squaring into the path of Jimmy Ryan whose 20-yard deflected effort flew wide of Matthews.