A great return to the John Smith’s Stadium for Jordan Rhodes but a bitter afternoon for Town.

The former favourite poached a hat trick to condemn Mark Robins’ men to a 16th defeat of the season, and sixth on home turf, as Blackburn benefited from Town’s mistakes.

Gaffes became goals as first keeper Alex Smithies allowed a Craig Conway drive to elude his grasp, then midfielder Adam Clayton gave the ball away for Rhodes’ third.

Each time Rovers were able to restore their two-goal cushion as Town threatened to claw their way back into the contest of two of the Championship’s most inconsistent sides.

The most encouraging aspect from a home perspective was a goal for Nahki Wells and the return of James Vaughan, who came off the bench and claimed the assist as the club-record £1.3m signing grabbed his first in 10 games.

Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers (2-4). Nahki Wells is congratulated on his goal by James Vaughan
Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers (2-4). Nahki Wells is congratulated on his goal by James Vaughan
 

Wells has been working his socks off in recent games, and it was good to see him claim a third Town goal.

After discussing the whys and wherefores of Martin Paterson’s loan move to Bristol City, confirmed shortly before kick-off, and wondering whether the Northern Ireland international will wear a Town shirt again, supporters will be hoping Vaughan, back after a five-match absence with a torn calf, and Wells can develop their frontline partnership.

Both were signed to bring the kind of goal supply provided by Rhodes, who joined Blackburn in an £8m deal in August 2012 and now has 20 goals for the season, and 48 in all for the East Lancashire club.

The 24-year-old, who remains as personable off the pitch as he is lethal on it, has had a lean spell of late.

He went into this game having netted just the once in 11 games, but having seen him notch 87 in just over three seasons, the Town faithful know normal business will always be resumed sooner or later.

Unfortunately it happened against his former employers, with Rhodes made skipper for the day by his manager Gary Bowyer and responding by bagging his second hat trick for Rovers to go with the six he got for Town.

He struck just four minutes in, shrugging off Murray Wallace and finishing with aplomb after fellow striker Rudy Gestede headed the ball down, and Robins’ side were already up against it.

 

For a spell, Town looked ragged, but a formation change (from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3) helped them get on top and Adam Hammill, playing on the left of the forward trio after starting at right wing-back, got them back into the game when he cut in and unleased a cross-cum-shot which took a defection but was struck well enough for the 26-year-old to claim a fourth goal of the campaign.

A head injury to Gestede caused a seven-minute delay (nine were added on to the first half and four to the second) and interrupted the momentum Town were trying to build.

And as a great opportunity early in the second half, when Danny Ward shot over after Paul Robinson could only parry a Wells shot, came and went, so did hopes of a Town win.

Rhodes restored Blackburn’s lead when he headed in off the right-hand post from Conway’s cross, then the Scottish winger’s strike, off the same upright, left Town facing an uphill task.

Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers (2-4).Jordan Rhodes (left) celebrates his second goal.
Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers (2-4).Jordan Rhodes (left) celebrates his second goal.
 

With Town now going 4-4-2, Wells’ emphatic finish from Vaughan’s nod on sparked hopes of a comeback, but Rhodes gleefully accepted his gift and drilled the ball home to ensure his side snapped a run of three straight defeats.

Town have picked up one point from the last nine and badly need to do the business at Blackpool next Saturday if they are to revive hopes of a top-half finish.

They may be mid-table, but there’s plenty to play for still.

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Mark Robins tells Huddersfield Town players: cut out the mistakes and aim for the top 10 - click here to read

Run of the ball

2mins: Ollie Norwood’s
speculative effort is held by Paul Robinson.

4mins: Jordan Rhodes strikes, shooting home from Rudy Gestede’s knock down.

11mins: Rhodes’ low shot from distance is held by Alex Smithies.

14mins: David Dunn’s shot is saved.

16mins: Nahki Wells pushes the ball past Robinson but can’t get an angle for a shot and instead lays the ball back to
Norwood, whose effort is blocked.

17mins: Norwood shoots narrowly wide from
Adam Hammill’s lay-off.

18mins: Tommy Spurr’s header from a Craig
Conway corner is held.

22mins: Peter Clarke heads wide from a Hammill
corner.

24mins: Town are back in the game as Hammill cuts in from the left and counts with a deflected cross-cum-shot.

37mins: Norwood’s shot from distance is held.

39mins: Wells is just wide from Jonathan Hogg’s pass.

42mins: Spurr’s low shot from a Conway corner is blocked.

50mins: Ward’s well-struck shot is parried by keeper Robinson, Danny Ward puts the rebound over.

55mins: Rhodes strikes again, heading in off the right-hand post from a Conway cross.

61mins: A goalbound Wells header is clawed away by Robinson.

65mins: It’s 3-1 to
Blackburn as Smithies fails to deal with
Conway’s long-range
effort and the ball goes in off that same right-hand post.

71mins: Wells fires home from substitite James Vaughan’s flick.

76mins: Vaughan heads over from a Hammill
corner.

81mins: Rhodes clinches his hat trick, seizing on an Adam Clayton slip to shoot home from the edge of the penalty area.

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