A scrappy first half ended goalless, a strong breeze around Spotland making life tough for both sides. Rochdale had the better opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, David Perkins and Adam Rundle bringing good saves out of Scott Davies in the first 20 minutes.
After the break, Rochdale continued to ask all the questions, Kallum Higginbotham firing narrowly wide and Rene Howe having a shot saved by Davies.
The breakthrough arrived in the 66th minute when Gary Jones played a clever pass into the area for Howe, who side-stepped his marker before slamming a low drive past Davies.
Ben Muirhead had a great chance to wrap up the result late on when he went clean through on goal but Davies saved once again.