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15 March 2014

Rhodes hits hat-trick on return

Jordan Rhodes came back to haunt Town with three clinical strikes to earn Blackburn Rovers three points at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Town replied at 1-0 through Adam Hammill and at 3-1 courtesy of Nahki Wells, but Rhodes took advantage of Adam Clayton’s misplaced pass to make it 4-2.

Craig Conway has earlier saw a long range effort sneak past Alex Smithies to score Rovers’ third.

The Terriers made three changes to the side that earned a point at Charlton on Wednesday night, with Tommy Smith coming in for Calum Woods; Adam Hammill replacing Sean Scannell and Burnley-born Oliver Norwood in for Keith Southern. 

James Vaughan also returned to the squad after a month out and was on the bench.

The first chance came two minutes in, when Paul Robinson’s clearance fell to Oliver Norwood 25 yards out. The Northern Ireland International has a seasonal high of five goals already this campaign and fancied his chances, but Robinson was alert to capture the ball.

The deadlock was broken two minutes later from the most likely of sources, former Town striker Jordan Rhodes bundling through Murray Wallace’s challenge and slotting into the corner of the net to give Blackburn.

11 minutes in, it could have been two for Rovers. Craig Conway burst down the right, Adam Hammill challenging the Scot and almost bringing him to ground in the area, but he sportingly played the ball across to Rhodes who shot into the arms of Smithies.

Norwood then played in Nahki Wells who rounded ‘keeper Robinson, but his touch took him too wide and he crossed it back to Norwood whose shot was blocked. 

On 21 minutes, that man Rhodes was nearly in again. He was played clear by Conway, but Peter Clarke was too strong.

Adam Hammill’s corner then found Clarke unmarked in the away team’s box, but his header was well-wide. 

Just a minute later, Hammill found the ball out wide on the left. He curled the ball towards goal, directing it into the bottom far corner to level the scores.

On 38 minutes, Norwood again had time on the ball to look up, giving the ball to Danny Ward whose first-time ball played in Wells who shot wide. 

Blackburn then came close again, Tommy Spurr hitting the base of the post from Conway’s corner.

After the restart, Wells again went close to ending his goal drought, but his shot was saved by Robinson who palmed to Ward, but the forward blazed over from six yards. 

Wells was then presented with a golden opportunity after a loose ball found him one-on-one with Robinson. The Bermudian was at a tight angle, however, and couldn’t keep the shot down.

Blackburn restored their lead on 54 minutes, Conway with plenty of time to cross and picked out Rhodes who leapt above Smith to head in off the post. 

Hammill’s cross then found Wells whose header looped over Robinson, but the former England stopper recovered to push the ball to safety.

64 minutes in and it was 3-1, Conway with a rasping drive from 20 yards and the ball slipped through Smithies’ hands and into the goal via the left-hand post.

With 20 minutes to go, James Vaughan replaced Ward and had an immediate impact. He flicked the ball through to Wells who cleverly let the ball run into his path before smashing the ball into the back of the net.

Vaughan then nipped in front of Matt Kilgallon, drawing a foul on the edge of the area. Hammill’s free kick was cleared by Rovers, and Vaughan headed over from the resulting corner.

Rhodes sealed his hat-trick with ten minutes to go, Adam Clayton caught in possession as Rhodes fired past the hapless Smithies from the edge of the area.

A solitary point from the last three games now means the Terriers slip to 15th – their lowest league position of the campaign so far.

Town’s team (3-5-2):

Alex Smithies; Murray Wallace, Peter Clarke (c) Tommy Smith; Paul Dixon, Jonathan Hogg, Oliver Norwood (Sean Scannell, 68), Adam Clayton, Adam Hammill (Harry Bunn, 90); Danny Ward (James Vaughan, 68), Nahki Wells

Unused substitutes:

Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Keith Southern, Oscar Gobern

Bookings Town: 
Bookings Blackburn: Kilgallon 76

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