Newport County ended their League Two campaign in disappointing fashion by suffering a fifth straight home defeat for the first time in the Football League since 1988.
County were third in the table and dreamed of automatic promotion in mid-March, but a string of dismal results knocked them out of contention for even a play-off spot.
And that loss, courtesy of Matty Done’s early strike and a second in stoppage time from substitute Abraham Odoh, means they end the season in 11th place.
The biggest cheer from home fans came when referee Lee Swabey was sent off with injury and replaced by fourth official Simon Shaw after 20 minutes.
By this stage, Rochdale were already up front after Done produced an emphatic finish into the top corner in the 16th minute after a defensive ball from Ethan Brierley.
County supporters were adamant that Done was offside, but few would have argued that Rochdale did not deserve to be up front.
James Rowberry’s men only got a real chance 10 minutes before the break when Scot Bennett’s powerful shot was well blocked by Max Taylor.
Defender Josh Pask also headed over the bar after being picked off by Bennett on the left shortly after, but Rochdale was otherwise unfazed.
Liverpool loanee Jake Cain replaced Swansea City youngster Oli Cooper at the start of the second half in what was likely to be a farewell appearance for the two.
Aston Villa loan star Finn Azaz will also return to his parent club, while League Two top scorer Dom Telford is out of contract and will have plenty of suitors.
It’s not how any of them would have wanted to sign Rodney Parade after a hugely promising season that ended alarmingly over the past few months.
Centre-back James Clarke had a chance to equalize just before the hour mark, but headed for striker Rob Street who was probably better placed behind him to score.
Rowberry handed right-back Harrison Bright his EFL debut in place of Bennett for the final half hour and the 18-year-old provided a spark in the closing stages.
Street really should have equalized in the 67th minute, but he fired a shot just the wrong side of the post with only goalkeeper Jake Eastwood to beat.
And Telford, usually so reliable in front of goal, missed two decent chances soon after as he failed to get enough of a header and was then denied by Eastwood.
Pask tested Eastwood with a thunderbolt of a shot 10 minutes from time, but the keeper was up to it. And a frustrating afternoon was complete when Odoh produced a clever finish on the death to seal the three points for the visitors.