Rochdale's hopes of a top-three finish were dealt a severe blow as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Darlington.
Jason Kennedy's 30-yard wonder strike in the fourth minute separated the teams at half time.
Chris Dagnall wasted two good chances for Dale before Ricky Ravenhill's cross (66) was headed on to the post by Pawel Abbott, the rebound hitting defender Rory McArdle with the ball rolling into the net.
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