Just 13 league games into the season, Hull City unveiled their new boss, the former Leicester and England manager Peter Taylor.
The sacking of Jan Molby on Thursday brought to an end a dismal run of games which left the Tigers 18th in Nationwide Division Three.
Taylor took his place in the stand and left the team in the hands of youth team boss Billy Russell.
He saw an instantly more confident and coherent side, who tore apart Rochdale.
After the match he was reluctant to single out any particular player, saying: "Now we need to put a few wins together.
"All the team did very well, and they all worked hard for the supporters."
In the sixth minute Clive Platt shot well over for Rochdale, but a minute later Phil Jevons shot just wide of the left-hand post.
After 15 minutes an 18-yard shot from Paul Simpson was kept out by the outstretched hand of Paul Musselwhite in the top left-hand corner.
At this stage it was largely even but in the 24th minute Steve Burton's shot was deflected wide.
This would have made a dream debut for the 20-year old graduate from Hull City's juniors.
Three minutes later, Michael Branch did very well to beat a defender and run wide, but his shot was well parried by Neil Edwards.
Moments later Stuart Elliott had an effort cleared off the line by Simpson as a corner was forced which was taken short.
Stuart Green's subsequent cross from the right was met by the head of Elliott and headed home from six yards by Jevons to give the Tigers the lead.
After 34 minutes a 22-yard shot from Green was parried by Edwards, but City made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time after a brilliant one-two between Elliott and Jevons, who then squared the ball to Branch, who tapped in from six yards with Edwards nowhere.
Moments after the restart, a clever chip by Jevons rolled just wide, while at the other end a header from Gareth Griffiths went well wide from a free kick.
In the 58th minute Paul Connor saw his shot acrobatically tipped over the bar by Paul Musselwhite who, like the rest of the team, looked much more confident than of late.
After briefly going off the boil the Tigers surged forward and Green had a superb 20-yard volley turned away by Edwards.
In the 67th minute a free kick from Ian Bishop was only kept out by Musselwhite who leapt to his left to tip the effort away for a corner.
Minutes later, Connor's shot was deflected wide by the faintest of touches by the diving Musselwhite.
City almost made it three minutes later when a Jevons header bounced off the crossbar into the arms of a relieved Edwards.
In the dying minutes a stinging shot from Kevin Townson was well held by Musselwhite and minutes later the Tigers keeper saved a shot from substitute Lee Hodges, the former Scunthorpe player, who was booed throughout by the home fans.
In the 84th minute the game was put beyond doubt when a poor backpass from Griffiths put Edwards in no-man's land only for Branch to race in and slot home from six yards