Rochdale manager Keith Hill did his best to avoid saying he was happy to be out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after losing 2-1 at Port Vale.
Goals by strike duo Marc Richards and Justin Richards secured Vale a place in the next round despite a late bombardment by Rochdale.
Matt Done's unstoppable 18-yard drive reduced the deficit late on, but Hill admitted he was happy that his side can focus their attention on league football.
"I don't want to use the word insignificant because that would get me into trouble, but if there was a game we could afford to lose, this one was it," he said.
"I made a few changes and would have made a few more if the rules had allowed. We've just played Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday and that takes a lot out of the players.
"People say players should be able to play every day, but a lot of hard miles go into football matches and games like this can be an obstacle."