Newport County ended their League Two campaign in disappointing fashion as they suffered a fifth successive home defeat for the first time in the Football League since 1988.
County were third in the table and dreaming of automatic promotion in mid-March, but a dismal run of results saw them slip out of contention for even a play-off spot.
And this defeat, courtesy of Matty Done’s early strike and a second in stoppage-time from substitute Abraham Odoh, means they finish the season in 11th place.
The biggest cheer from the home fans came when referee Lee Swabey was forced off with an injury and replaced by fourth official Simon Shaw after 20 minutes.
By that stage, Rochdale were already in front after Done produced an emphatic finish into the top corner in the 16th minute following a defence-splitting ball from Ethan Brierley.
The County supporters were adamant that Done was offside, but few would have argued that Rochdale didn’t deserve to be ahead.
James Rowberry’s men didn’t fashion a real chance until 10 minutes before the interval when Scot Bennett’s powerful goalbound effort was well blocked by Max Taylor.
Defender Josh Pask also flicked a header over the bar after being picked out by Bennett on the left soon afterwards, but Rochdale were otherwise untroubled.
Liverpool loanee Jake Cain replaced Swansea City youngster Oli Cooper at the start of the second half for what is likely to have been a farewell appearance for both.
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 the way that any of them would have wanted to sign off at Rodney Parade after a hugely-promising season that tailed off alarmingly in the last few months.
Centre-back James Clarke had a chance to level just before the hour mark, but he headed over with striker Rob Street probably better positioned behind him to score.
Rowberry handed right wing-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 levelled on 67 minutes, but he rolled 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 afterwards as he failed to get enough on a header and was then denied by Eastwood.
Pask tested Eastwood with a thunderbolt of a shot 10 minutes from time, but the goalkeeper was equal to it. And a frustrating afternoon was complete when Odoh produced a clever finish at the death to seal the three points for the visitors.