Rochdale 2 Rushden & Diamonds 0
The struggling visitors enjoyed the bulk of the first half possession and had a good chance but skipper Andrew Burgess saw his effort brilliantly save by Rochadle keeper Matthew Gilks.
After the break following a rollicking by manager Steve Parkin the homeside moved up through the gears and but for the brilliance of goalkeeper Alan Blayney would have won by a wider margin.
The first goal came on 56 minutes when leading scorer Grant Holt played a great ball into the path of Ernie Cooksey which the midfielder joyfully smashed into the roof of the net from 20 yards.
Paul Tate and Scott Warner were both denied by outstanding saves by Blayney before leading scorer Holt notched his 20th goal of the season with a powerful header from a Jamie Clarke corner.
The visitors were denied a late consolation when substitute Jason Taylor saw his close range effort strike the underside of the crossbar and bounce to safety.