Battling Macclesfield produced a stunning second half comeback to lift the growing gloom which had decended over the Moss Rose.
After dominating the first half, with Martin Carruthers powering a close range header against the crossbar in the 41st minute, they conceded five minutes after the break.
Rochdaleâ€™s French striker Mickael Antoine-Curier picked out the unmared Chris Shuker who danced into the box to score only his second league goal, the first coming two years ago when, ironically, he was on loan at Macclesfield.
But, Macclesfield responded with determination and in the 64th minute fullback Danny Adams made a decisive tackle on Wayne Evans on the edge of the box. He rifled the ball across the six yard line where Darryl Burgess unluckily prodded it into his own net.
Rochdale looked ineffective and in the 73rd minute Michael Simpkins brought down John Miles on the edge of the box, allowing Danny Whitaker to curl the resultant free kick into the corner for his fourth goal of the season.
Rochdale Manager Alan Buckley was livid afterwards and said: "It was a very, very poor performance we didn't get started and were lucky to be 0-0.
â€œWe scored a good goal but it only lifted them and a rank bad defensive error cost us the lead we then gave away a stupid free kick from which they literally rolled the ball into the back of the net. I am bitterly disappointed with our performance." Macclesfield Manager David Moss was delighted, he said: "We showed a lot of resilience. Thereâ€™s a lot of character in that dressing room because we never let our heads drop, didn't stop getting the ball forward, kept on passing and giving it wide.
â€œDanny Whitaker was absolutely brilliant and, for me, David Flitcroft against his former club opitimised everything you'd want in a midfield player."