A SPARKLING first-half display paved the way for York City to end their dismal seven-match run without a victory, although they had to endure a few anxious moments in a nail-biting finish.
York, who had last won at Accrington on October 19, built a three-goal lead after 35 minutes playing fine attacking football which left Rochdale chasing shadows.
Key to the Minstermen’s success was manager Gary Mills’s decision to make seven changes following the 2-0 home defeat by Torquay, selecting a completely different midfield three and front three.
Michael Potts, a 21-year-old former Blackburn junior, came in for his first start of the season and he took his chance in style with two goals.
“It has been frustrating seeing other players getting their opportunities, but I have just kept going and when the boss called me in on Thursday to tell me I was playing I was obviously delighted,” said Potts.
York, who had Matty Blair back on the right wing from his previous central midfield role and Paddy McLaughlin coming back to operate in the midfield three, caused havoc in the opening 35 minutes.
McLaughlin and Jamal Fyfield set up Potts to put York ahead after seven minutes. Michael Ingham tipped Jason Kennedy’s shot over the bar in a Rochdale raid but Jason Walker made it 2-0 after 19 minutes, Scott Kerr heading into the goalmouth from another cross by Fyfield for Walker to finish off.
Ashley Chambers was the provider when Potts added the third after 35 minutes and York could have doubled the margin before half-time.
The second half was even with Rochdale scoring through Rhys Bennett after 61 minutes. York missed further chances before Bobby Grant scored on 83 minutes from the penalty spot after Potts had fouled George Donnelly.
Rochdale: Lillis; R Edwards, Bennett, P Edwards, McIntyre; Cavanagh, Kennedy (Grimes 59), Tutte, Grant; Adebola (Donnelly 46), Gornell. Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Barry-Murphy, Pearson, Craney, Smith.
York City: Ingham; Parslow, Smith, Doig, Fyfield; Potts (Challinor 85), Kerr, McLaughlin (Oyebanjo 85), Blair, Walker (Reed 88), Chambers. Unused substitutes: Musselwhite, Blanchett, McGurk, Kelly.
Referee: O Langford (Darlaston).
Man of the match: Michael Potts.