Gary Jones' first half tap-in condemned the Dons to their third defeat in a row, despite the visitors having Nathan Stanton send off on 13 minutes for two bookable offences and Dons missing a penalty through Keith Andrews.
It was a third away win on the trot for Dale, whose goal led a charmed life in the second half as the Dons missed chance after chance.
The game erupted into controversy after just 11 minutes.
After Lloyd Dyer had a shot cleared off the line by Simon Ramsden, Dean Lewington was brought down in the box by Stanton, he was booked immediately, but the furious defender took his protests too far and the referee showed him a second yellow card.
The Dons had the perfect chance to pretty much kill the game, but Andrews' low penalty into the right-hand corner was well saved by Sam Russell, who was on trial with the Dons at the start of the season.
Fans were expecting a full onslaught on the Dale goal, but it never came as Dons struggled to break open the stubborn visitors.
They did finally create a chance on 27 minutes when Mark Wright played in Jemal Johnson down the right-hand side, he got to the by-line and crossed low for the onrushing Andrews, who somehow blasted over from eight yards.
Then, against all the odds, Jones opened the scoring on 32 minutes, Kallum Higginbotham got lucky when Drissa Diallo's weak tackle came straight back to him and he squared for the onrushing Jones, who tapped in from ten yards.
And Dale could have gone in 2-0 up, but Willy Gueret saved John Doolan's slightly deflected, but well struck 30-yard free-kick.
The Dons came out with real urgency and the second half and could have equalised early on but Danny Swailes' shot was cleared off the line.
But Higginbotham could have made it two when he sprung the offside trap and cut in well from the right, his vicious right-footed shot just flying wide.
The Dons continued to bombard the visitors' goal, which was living a charmed life as Aaron Wilbraham headed against the post from a Lewington corner, with Sean O'Hanlon somehow blasting the rebound over on 62 minutes.
Then on 74 minutes Russell saved substitute Kevin Gallen's glancing header at full stretch.
The chances kept on coming and minutes later Lewington blasted miles over after the ball fell kindly to him 18-yards out.
Then one of the strangest things happened when a sprinkler came on and soaked the assistant linesman, another then burst into life and the game was stopped for several minutes while the problem was fixed.
It didn't affect the Dons too much though, who were straight on the offensive again, but left scratching their heads again when O'Hanlon's header was cleared off the line by Higginbotham with five minutes to go.
That turned out to be there last chance as the visitors held on.