Norwich City 2 Aston Villa 1: Rhodes at the double as Canaries storm back in Championship thriller
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Jordan Rhodes' second half brace completed another stirring Championship comeback to sink Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday night at Carrow Road.
Rhodes pounced twice inside the Villa penalty area after James Chester's deflected header had put Dean Smith's side in front.
City had to survive a tense finale when the luckless Louis Thompson appeared to dislocate his shoulder barely seconds after being introduced during nine minutes of added on time.
Timm Klose gathered his troops for the pre-match huddle as he clung to Tim Krul ahead of his 100th appearance for the club. Klose had the armband in the absence of Alex Tettey, given leave to attend the birth of his child.
The fear in his absence was whether Tom Trybull could offer that physical ballast which is the Norwegian's trademark, alongside compatriot Moritz Leitner.
There was nothing weak about Chrisoph Zimmermann's early calling card on the dangerous Jack Grealish, which earned him a fifth minute caution from Simon Hooper.
Villa were firmly on the front foot with Glenn Whelan operating in a similar role to Tettey in front of the visitors' back four and Grealish seeking to spring the pace of Albert Adomah down the left.
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Leitner cushioned a reverse ball into Rhodes that freed Marco Stiepermann to force the first home corner which spiralled back towards Leitner, who lashed a rising shot over the top of Orjan Nyland's bar.
The former Augsburg midfielder has emerged as the conductor in this Norwich squad during a fertile period. There was a wonderfully inventive spell after his opening salvo, when he picked out Max Aarons with a raking ball before altering the radar to free Jamal Lewis down the left.
Todd Cantwell then controlled a bouncing ball inside the opposition penalty box only to whip his right footed effort over.
But after Villa's early vibrancy it was a welcome foothold for Farke's men.
That growing confidence produced a clever corner routine in the 15th minute, when the ball was switched to Lewis lurking on the edge of the area to chip a centre Axel Tuanzebe cleared deep inside his six yard box.
But in a repeat of Saturday's trip to the City Ground, Norwich fell behind. Chester attacked Conor Hourihane's corner to glance a near post header past Krul that appeared to brush Trybull on its way.
Cantwell led the charge in the immediate aftermath, but Stiepermann's free kick slammed the Villa wall after the youngster was hauled down.
The Canaries' growing assurance started to ebb approaching the interval. Villa were now exerting a worrying degree of control across the middle of the park - Tettey's absence keenly felt as Grealish controlled the tempo.
Zimmermann tried to force a pass out wide to Aarons pounced on by Adomah but captain Klose was on hand to bail out his team mate.
The hosts had a huge slice of luck in the 34th minute when Tammy Abraham anticipated Alan Hutton's low cut back but clipped a shot goalwards behind Aarons but against the base of a post, before Krul smothered Adomah's follow up.
That appeared to sting Norwich into more concerted action. Nyland was left furiously back-pedalling as Cantwell's cross drifted beyond his far post. The stooping Leitner headed the resulting corner into the side netting.
Rhodes looked accusingly at referee Hooper in the 38th minute, when he went over under pressure from Hutton at the far post in attempting to get a touch to Leitner's whipped centre.
Zimmermann escaped a second yellow after Grealish tumbled a yard outside the home box but Hourihane rifled over from just outside the area.
The Republic of Ireland international threatened again early in the second period when he drilled a fearsome shot the wrong side of Krul's near post.
But Norwich found a way. Just like the City Ground. Rhodes leapt in front of Hutton to crash Buendia's corner home from close range in the 54th minute after a rash decision from Nyland to rush off his line.
It got even better after a flurry of Villa possession when Norwich sliced through again. Leitner triggered a flowing 18-pass move that saw Buendia slip in Stiepermann. The cross was sublime but the predatory move and finish from Rhodes was top drawer, getting a fraction of a second on Chester to divert the low cross past Nyland.
Rhodes was needed deep inside his own box thereafter with Villa desperate for a riposte. Farke turned to Thompson who was forced off himself with what looked a suspected dislocated shoulder afer an awkward landing.
There was still one final scare, in the 99th minute of stoppage time following Thompson's injury exit, when Mario Vrancic upended Grealish but the midfielder's free kick slammed into the home wall just outside Krul's area.
• Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis, Trybull, Leitner, Buendia (Thompson 90+3 (Godfrey 90+5)), Stiepermann (Vrancic 85), Cantwell, Rhodes. Subs (not used): McGovern (GK), Passlack, Hernandez, Srbeny.
• Bookings: Zimmermann (foul on Grealish, 5); Trybull (foul on Grealish, 87)
• Goals: Rhodes (54, 73)
• Aston Villa: Nyland, Taylor, Tuanzebe, Chester, Whelan, Grealish, Hourihane (Kodjia 81), Abraham (Hogan 54), Hutton, Elmohamady, Adomah (El Ghazi 50). Subs (not used): Bunn (GK), Lansbury, Jedinak, Bjarnason.
• Booking: Taylor (foul on Leitner, 45)
• Goal: Chester (19)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 5 minutes
• Referee: Simon Hooper (Wilts)
• Attendance: 24,977