JORDAN RHODES has got a new theme tune, a new house and now a new memento for his display cabinet.
‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ is the song playing when the 19-year-old scores these days – and it blared out of the Galpharm loudspeakers not once, not twice but three times as Town ended their barren run in style.
Exeter City, already trailing to Lee Novak’s well-taken early opener, were left well and truly on the ropes as Rhodes struck with his trio of headers in the space of 10 minutes of play either side of half-time (including stoppage).
It was a second hat trick for the former Ipswich Town striker, whose first came against Shrewsbury Town while on loan at Brentford last season.
It’s also believed to be the fastest all-headed hat trick in Football League history, beating the mark set by the legendary Everton player Dixie Dean more than 70 years ago.
That’s 11 goals already for summer signing Rhodes, who finally quit hotel life to move into his new house in the Holme Valley last week.
And the really good news for Town supporters is that despite 21 clubs, including six from the Premier League, being represented at Saturday’s match, the teenager says he already feels like the place he belongs is Huddersfield!
Rhodes was deservedly given a standing ovation when replaced by Theo Robinson on 62 minutes (former Town strike favourite Marcus Stewart was given the same treatment when Exeter boss Paul Tisdale made three changes at the same time).
But it was far more than a one-man show as Town claimed their first win in seven games, providing the perfect tonic ahead of Saturday’s tough trip to Charlton Athletic.
While Novak’s terrific workrate was rewarded with a second Town goal, widemen Anthony Pilkington and Gary Roberts were both highly influential.
And defensively, Town kept their third straight home clean sheet as their unbeaten Galpharm record remained firmly intact.
Keeper Alex Smithies was a spectator for large parts of a match Town dominated from the off, and Exeter could hardly claim they weren’t given fair warning of the aerial threat posed by Rhodes, since he had glanced a header against the face of on-loan Spurs goalkeeper Oscar Jansson’s right-hand post from Novak’s neat first-time cross in the 20th minute.
Three minutes earlier, Novak had the keeper diving vainly to his left with a lovely sidefoot finish from Michael Collins’ pass as Town ensured their early pressure bore fruit.
Antony Kay had already brought a save from Jansson and skipper Peter Clarke, back from his one-match ban, a clearance off the line by James Dunne with a header from a Roberts corner, the first of 16 flag kicks earned by Clark’s men.Related content
Town had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the 29th minute, when Novak went down under Rob Edwards’ challenge, and Clarke and Novak were both off target with decent chances soon after.
But the second goal duly arrived in the 44th minute, with Rhodes heading home Pilkington’s cross from the left, and Exeter were sunk within seven minutes of the second period.
Pilkington, played in by Lee Peltier, was again the provider for Rhodes’ second, in the 50th minute, while his third, two minutes later, came from a Roberts corner.
Clarke and Novak both came close again before Lionel Ainsworth looked set to make it five in the 84th minute, only for his shot to fly wide.
Another substitute, Theo Robinson, was also narrowly off target as former Town loan player Tisdale was left to reflect on a comprehensive defeat on his Galpharm return.