Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy hailed an “amazing” night at the Crown Oil Arena despite his side’s unbeaten start to the season coming to an end with a 2-1 loss against Sunderland.
Dale dominated possession but conceded either side of the break against the run of play and were unable to snatch the leveller their performance deserved.
Dale had chances to level but were unable to salvage a point and Barry-Murphy said: “I’m very, very disappointed with the result but very proud of the performance, I thought we were amazing for long periods of the game.
“Our players performed with great courage and were on the front foot for long stretches and even late in the game, when we were 2-1 behind and it would have been easy for us to get stretched – we found a way to summon energy to create chances.
“The atmosphere in the ground towards the end of the match spoke volumes, it felt like a proper atmosphere and a proper game at our ground. It was an amazing night, despite the result.”
Aiden McGeady fired the Black Cats ahead before Callum Camps equalised, the game decided by Charlie Wyke’s second-half goal.
Rochdale mounted a sustained period of pressure during which Calvin Andrew and Ian Henderson saw late chances saved by John McLaughlin as they were denied a share of the spoils.
Sunderland manager Jack Ross said: “One of the main things we learned from last year was turning tight games from one point into three one way or another – it was ultimately what probably cost us achieving what we wanted to do last year.
“I said to the lads before the game, ‘Ideally you would come to places like this, play great football and win two or three nil and everybody tells you how good you are’, but the reality is that doesn’t happen very often.
“This is a very difficult league and Rochdale are a very good team who have started the season very well.
“They play in a certain way and they are very good at it. So for us to come away from home in midweek and win is good at any point in the league.”