This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Rewind’ series, this content strand is where we rewind back to a particular moment at a club, assess the initial reaction from the fans, and then proceed to evaluate and reflect on whether fans were right to react in that way….
Sheffield Wednesday would have been due to face Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough last weekend before the EFL suspension to the season, which would have given them the chance to repeat what was arguably their finest moment of the campaign.
The Owls travelled to Nottingham Forest in mid-December looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Championship to five matches, as they began to pick up some real momentum under Garry Monk and looked potentially capable of mounting a play-off push this term.
Monk’s side were aiming to secure a win which would have enabled them to climb above their opponents and up into fifth place in the Championship table, but that task did not look likely to be an easy one against a side who had been well organised defensively throughout the first few months of the season.
Forest had been frustrated in their previous two matches which had seen them held to draws at both Millwall and at home to Middlesbrough, and they were looking to get their own promotion push back on track and to open up some breathing room ahead of Sheffield Wednesday in the table.
Sheffield Wednesday were looking to continue to see if they could get the best out of a partnership of the inform Steven Fletcher and a resurgent Jordan Rhodes, who had been brought in from the cold for their draw against Derby County in the previous game, after coming off the bench and impressing in a win against Brentford.
It turned out to be a day that many Sheffield Wednesday supporters had been longing to see from Rhodes, who had been struggling to really re-find the sort of form he had done earlier in his career in his spells with Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers, but this was a game that potentially could have kick started his career with the Owls.
The opening 45 minutes were completely dominated by Monk’s side, who looked a side full of belief and quality backed up with a ruthless streak in front of goal, and the Owls did not have to wait too long for the breakthrough, with Rhodes ending a 20-month wait for a Sheffield Wednesday goal with a left footbed finish in the ninth minute.
Rhodes suddenly looked a completely transformed player in the final third, and just four minutes later he was celebrating once again, with the striker showing his predatory instincts with a close-range header to double the Owls’ advantage on 13 minutes.
Forest were being frustrated in their attempts to get themselves back into the contest, and then came the moment of magic that this game will be remembered for, with Rhodes completing his hat-trick in some style with a stunning overhead kick, before Fletcher added a fourth right on the stroke of the interval.
The second period was a much more relaxed affair, with both sides knowing the result was inevitable and the Owls held firm to any attempts the hosts threw their way in the hopes of a consolation goal or two – and the Owls held firm to pick up all three points and an impressive 4-0 win.
QUIZ: These 15 players have played for both Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United – True or false?
Another positive result had come Sheffield Wednesday’s way and with Rhodes firing their seemed the possibility of a promotion push, or so they thought…
I think I speak for every #swfc fan we just wanted Jordan to do well when he had a chance. Seems a good lad and I’m so pleased for him 😊🦉💙⚽️
— Samantha Doman 🦉🇬🇧 (@Sambotheowl) December 14, 2019
So happy for Jordan Rhodes give the lad service he will score when he’s played before the service to him has been poor could blossom into a dangerous double act Rhodes at Fletcher 👏
— michael brownhill (@johnmichael1943) December 14, 2019
Watched it, quality performance best iv seen so far this season. Finished our chances and didn't really need to get out of 2nd gear in second half. Jordan rhodes take a bow son 🦉🦉🦉 WAWAW
— Thomas (@Thomas27054791) December 14, 2019
Let’s hope that this is the start of a lengthy streak of form for Rhodes. He’s been a poacher whenever he’s been and in Monk we have a manager who encourages us to get the ball into the box. I’d love Rhodes to become a club hero
— Richard Taylor (@RichLido) December 15, 2019
Well done boys. Excellent result today. Teams hate playing us they know we are the best when we have good days
— Michael (@AddinellMichael) December 14, 2019
We’ve got Jordon Rhodes at last at last aaaaat last 😁😁😁😁😁
— Ian Woodward (@ianwoody7) December 15, 2019
Excellent Hat-trick from Rhodes today but more pleased for @CameronDawson77 as he's looking like Wednesdays No1 the last few weeks and his kicking was spot on today 👌
— H (@hopson77) December 14, 2019
If you would have explained to one of the may thousands of Sheffield Wednesday fans leaving the City Ground in jubilant mood following the 4-0 win, that the Owls would soon go on a season defining slump in form that would leave them marooned in mid-table few would have believed you.
However, as it turns out that is exactly where their season has ended up since the turn of the year, with the Owls managing to win just three of their following 15 matches in the Championship, which has seen them drop from as high as third in the table down to a lowly 15th place.
That run of form has unsurprisingly led to a host of Sheffield Wednesday supporters questioning Monk’s potential long-term future at the club, and that is understandable when the side has gone from one that could rip apart Nottingham Forest on their own turf, to one that has been humbled 5-0 twice since the turn of the year.
As for Rhodes, things have gone back to the way they were for him before that trip to the City Ground, with that hat-trick now a distant memory and fans seemingly having now lost all patience for the striker – and he has been once again frozen out of the first team picture by Monk.
It therefore looks highly likely that the win at Forest has proven to be a real false dawn in terms of both the Owls season and the potential for Rhodes to make a comeback and show his worth to them, but at least for one afternoon Sheffield Wednesday could dream of potential promotion push.