BURNLEY Reserves faced an uphill battle after Rochdale Reserves stormed into a 3-0 first-half lead, then Will Buckley piled on further misery by completing his hat-trick to wrap up a 6-1 win three
minutes before the end.
Alex MacDonald scored a consolation for the Clarets, but only after Nathan D'Laryea had added a fourth for a reasonably experienced Dale at a rain-soaked Fraser Eagle Stadium.
But it wasn't until midway through the first half that the goalspree began.
There had been little in the way of chances before that as both sides struggled to come to terms with the conditions on a pitch that was only passed fit to play on after a lunch-time inspection,
and only deteriorated after a deluge at half-time.
Burnley were punished after failing to clear the danger when Martin Donnelly whipped in a left-wing cross, Dale twice hit the post before Buckley bundled the ball home from the ensuing melee.
Joe Thompson bent the ball around goalkeeper Stefan Ritchie into the bottom right corner from 18 yards, then Buckley finished well for his second from a similar distance.
MacDonald was presented with a good chance to reduce the gap on the stroke of half-time but couldn't get the better of goalkeeper James Spencer in a one-on-one.
D'Laryea extended Rochdale's lead two minutes into the second half from close range, before MacDonald eventually pulled a goal back.
But Dale wrapped up a comfortable win through Joe Thompson and Buckley, who book-ended the 90 minutes by completing his hat-trick.