Rochdale 2, Leeds United 0
Disappointed Leeds boss Brian McDermott admitted the only saving grace from his side’s FA Cup defeat at Rochdale was that there were no league points at stake.
Goals either side of the interval from Scott Hogan and Ian Henderson saw the League Two outfit claim a shock victory that earned a fourth-round tie against either Macclesfield or Sheffield Wednesday.
McDermott said: “Rochdale played some really good football and they deserved to win the game.
“You always respect the opposition and we showed a lot of respect because we had to.
“Keith Hill is a very good manager with a great track record and his teams play great football. When I saw the draw I knew how tough it was going to be.
“They were good, we didn’t perform – but I will use that as a driver going forward. We haven’t lost any points, which is something, but it doesn’t mean a lot at this moment in time.”
Rochdale boss Keith Hill labelled his side’s win as “something special”.
Hill’s men started the day 44 places below their opponents in the Football League structure but they dominated the game from start to finish against a Championship side who struggled to break out of second gear.
“It was superb to actually get our chance to pit our wits against Leeds at Spotland – but to win the game, that’s something special,” said Hill.
“It’s a huge result for us. We are not a cash-rich club but we are very honest. We are one of very few, like Arsenal, who don’t spend money they haven’t got and don’t have debts.”
Dale bossed the game throughout against a lethargic Leeds who barely tested home goalkeeper Josh Lillis, the closest they came to scoring being a first-half header from Matt Smith which Matt Lund cleared off the line.
Hogan netted his 11th goal of the season when he headed home Peter Vincenti’s cross in first-half stoppage time and, after Vincenti had spurned a great chance to wrap up the result, Henderson volleyed home Graham Cummins’ cross in the 83rd minute.
Hill said: “It’s a tremendous win. There was a bit of doom and gloom when we drew Torquay away in the first round and there was an expectancy that we’d go out of the competition and get no reward for a game that would cost the club a fortune. But here we got our reward.
“Progressively we got better and better and the way the players executed the game-plan against Leeds was superb. I don’t think anyone could argue that we deserved to win the game on that performance.
“Our first goal was worthy of winning the game – it was a superb cross and header – and our second was a superb passage of play.
“Prior to Ian Henderson scoring, we’d missed three gilt-edged chances and I was thinking we’d missed our chance to put Leeds to bed. But eventually we did that.”