Dale put boot into Cobblers
Rochdale went top of the League Two table after cruising to a 3-0 win at Northampton Town, despite being reduced to 10 men.
Dale made an impressive start at Sixfields against an improving Northampton side on a six-match unbeaten run. And it was former Cobbler Ian Henderson who gave the visitors a sixth-minute lead when he beat Matt Duke with a low drive from 12 yards out after good approach play from Peter Vincenti.
Duke denied Matthew Lund who then shot wide as Rochdale took charge of the opening period before the Cobblers finally created an opening when Alan Connell fired over.
Emile Sinclair and Darren Carter were both off target as Northampton began to get into the contest but Keith Hill's side continued to control the game and Vincenti was denied by Duke at the other end.
Second-half substitute Brennan Dickenson finally tested keeper Josh Lillis before Rochdale doubled their advantage in the 54th minute. Vincenti set up Lund who found the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards but was then shown a second yellow card for his goal celebration.
Facing 10 men for second game running, Northampton again struggled to make the most of their numerical advantage. Rochdale sealed the points in the 65th minute when Joe Bunney latched on to a fine pass from Henderson to beat Duke with a clinical finish.
Vincenti should have made it four in stoppage-time when he shot against the upright after another super break from Henderson.