'I was trying to take some of that positive thinking' – City's hat-trick hero thrilled to shine at Wycombe again
PUBLISHED: 13:29 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:29 26 September 2018
Adams Park was a happy hunting ground once again for Jordan Rhodes, as the striker fired Norwich City into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a hat-trick.
The Sheffield Wednesday loanee scored five goals in his last visit to Wycombe, leading Huddersfield to a 6-0 thrashing of Wanderers in League One back in 2011/12 – a season during which he scored 40 goals to fire the Terriers to promotion via the play-offs.
The 28-year-old admits he rolled back the years in his head ahead of City’s third round tie last night, as he returned to the starting line-up and took his tally to the season to five goals.
“When I woke up in the hotel I was trying to imagine and really think of the good feelings which came last time around, get in some of the thoughts and positions I had last time,” Rhodes said.
“I went through all the goals in my head like it was only yesterday, so I was trying to take some of that positive thinking and fortunately enough the ball has found me in certain positions.
“It was a little bit annoying that the referee ruled that one out at the end of the first half but it’s a ground I look back on fondly.”
The striker scored two goals in three minutes, turning home an Emi Buendia cross in the 12th minute before finding the top-right corner from 20 yards soon after.
League One side Wycombe pulled a goal back quickly but Rhodes thought he had his hat-trick in the 34th minute after rounding the home keeper and poking home from close range.
A Tom Trybull header still ensured the Canaries went into the break 3-1 ahead but the Scotland international was annoyed to be denied his treble in the first half.
“I was walking off and I was quite frustrated at half-time because that should have been three going in at half-time,” Rhodes continued.
“More so than that, not just the hat-trick for myself but going in as a team at half-time 4-1 up would have been a much better feeling going in the dressing room knowing that if we come out second half and playing our stuff then we can build on it.
“So it was almost a bit of a sucker punch but the referee seemed to give a handball decision out of nowhere.
“It was nowhere near my hand, it was in the middle of my chest and I said that to the referee, I told him I’m an honest player and I’d tell him he got it right because it did hit my hand – but it was nowhere near my hand and that was the most frustrating thing on a personal note.
“But it doesn’t matter, these things happen in football and it’s just pleasing that we managed to get over the line in 90 minutes after a scare at the end.”
His first hat-trick in a Norwich shirt was sealed six minutes after the break, with a deft flick from another Buendia cross, but Wycombe kept battling to make it a nervy finish for the Championship visitors.
“It was a great game for the neutral, coming down here on a Tuesday night and seeing two teams really slug it out – and fortunately enough at the end there we just managed to hold out,” the striker said.
“So it’s a nice feeling to be in the fourth round of the League Cup.”
The success extended City’s winning streak to four games and unbeaten run to six matches, so Rhodes wasn’t too worried about the goals conceded against lower-level opposition.
“A win’s a win in a cup game, maybe in a league game it might do because you’re thinking about goal-difference, but it’s the cup and it’s just a matter of getting the job done and moving on,” he added.
“We knew coming in here it would be a tough Wycombe side, they got out of League Two playing some good stuff and they caused us a right load of panic at the end there.
“So we’re really pleased that we’re through to the next round and look forward to the draw.”