Joseph Rafferty scored the only game with just seconds of normal time remaining to inflict a frustrating defeat on Nigel Adkins’ side.
Adkins opted for a strong starting line-up with five of his summer signings – Eric Lichaj, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs, Todd Kane and David Milinković – all included from the off, whilst Markus Henriksen once again wore the captain’s armband.
The first chance of the game was created with just 62 seconds played. Evandro and Todd Kane linked up well down the right flank and the Brazilian’s cross was met by the head of Fraizer Campbell inside the box, only for the striker to see his header comfortably saved by Joshua Lillis in the Rochdale goal.
After a largely uneventful first quarter-of-an-hour at the Crown Oil Arena, the hosts wasted a decent opportunity to open the scoring when Matthew Done’s low cross somehow found its way to Joseph Rafferty in space but the full-back fired his first-time effort narrowly over David Marshall’s crossbar.
Marshall was called into action three minutes later when he produced a fine save with his feet to deny David Perkins following a lovely passing move from Keith Hill’s men.
The Tigers regrouped and were presented with a decent opportunity to test Lillis on 25 minutes when Evandro was upended 30 yards from goal by Bradden Inman. de Wijs looked confident as he placed the ball down and stepped back – but was left disappointed as his set-piece cleared the stand behind the Rochdale keeper’s goal.
Evandro’s influence on the game was beginning to grow as the Brazilian drilled a low effort from outside the box narrowly wide before linking up brilliantly with Kane, only to be robbed of possession inside the Rochdale box before he could get a shot away.
The action switched to the other end of the pitch in the latter stages of the first 45 minutes as Marshall produced a fine save to keep out ex-Tiger Aaron Wilbraham’s well-struck effort.
The Scot was then penalised for picking up what was deemed to be a back pass from Lichaj by the referee, giving Rochdale an indirect free-kick in a promising position on the corner of the six-yard box. However, the Tigers’ defensive wall stood firm to prevent Wilbraham’s low drive from finding the back of the net.
Evandro, Henriksen and Milinković linked up nicely in the opening exchanges of the second half to create an opening for Kane, but the Chelsea loanee’s tame effort was easily held by Lillis.
The Tigers dominated the early proceedings of the second half with Evandro, Henriksen and Milinković linking up nicely to create an opening for Kane, but the Chelsea loanee’s tame effort was easily held by Lillis. Milinković then saw an effort deflected behind before Stewart fired a well-struck effort from distance wide of the target.
The pressure continued to come from the team in black and amber as they pressed the home defence into a mistake in the final third of the pitch, which allowed Evandro to slip the ball into the path of Kane inside the box, although he could only scuff his effort straight at Lillis between the posts.
Rochdale gave a reminder of their attacking threat on the hour mark as Oliver Rathbone came close to finding a way past Marshall with a superbly-struck effort from the edge of the box that flew narrowly over.
Stephen Kingsley fired narrowly over from a free-kick ten minutes later before Dale skipper Ian Henderson followed suit from open play after dispossessing Stewart midway inside the Tigers’ half.
Adkins made ten changes 15 minutes from time, with Brandon Fleming, Angus MacDonald, Lewis Ritson, Adam Curry, Robbie McKenzie, Daniel Batty, Elliot Holmes, Tyler Hamilton, Will Keane, Nouha Dicko all coming off the bench.
A swift counter-attack carved out a decent opportunity for Dicko on 86 minutes but the substitute sent his effort from a tight angle wide of the target.
And the Tigers were made to pay for the missed opportunity as the hosts grabbed a last-minute winner through Rafferty. The full-back produced a neat touch to cut inside from the Rochdale right before finding the bottom corner with a fine curling finish.
Rochdale: Joshua Lillis, Joseph Rafferty, Jimmy McNulty, Harrison McGahey, MJ Williams, Oliver Rathbone (Dan Adshead 80), Matthew Done, David Perkins, Aaron Wilbraham, Bradden Inman (Joe Thompson 65), Ian Henderson (Calvin Andrew 75).
Subs Not Used: Callum Camps, Jordan Williams, Andrew Cannon, Aaron Morley, Brad Wade, Matthew Gillam.
Hull City: David Marshall, Eric Lichaj (Lewis Riston 75), Stephen Kingsley (Brandon Fleming 75), Reece Burke (Adam Curry 75), Jordy de Wijs (Angus MacDonald 75), Kevin Stewart (Robbie McKenzie 75), Markus Henriksen (Daniel Batty 75), Todd Kane (Elliot Holmes 75), Evandro (Will Keane 75), David Milinković (Tyler Hamilton 75), Fraizer Campbell (Nouha Dicko 75).
Subs Not Used: George Long, Jackson Irvine.