Ryan Inniss has endured a tough time since joining Charlton Athletic back in October with the bulk of his campaign being hit with a long-term quad injury but on Saturday afternoon, he made a long-awaited comeback and arguably stole the show for Nigel Adkins.
Indeed, it was only the 25-year-old’s seventh appearance for the Addicks and first since the start of November, when he played the full match in their 1-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup first round.
Nigel Adkins picked up his first win in charge of the south-east Londoners, defeating fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster Rovers 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, and Inniss played a crucial role in keeping the opposition out.
Having drawn 2-2 with AFC Wimbledon in his maiden match, Adkins altered his backline and made a total of six changes to include the former Palace man – and evidently, it paid off.
A lot of the plaudits may go to Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen, a left-back by trade, as he bagged his first-ever career goal despite playing out of position on the right flank.
“[Maatsen] has got the attributes [to play further forward]. I don’t think he’s played there before. He’s been playing left-back. But you can see he’s a very good footballer,” explained Adkins to LondonNewsOnline.
However, if it wasn’t for Inniss, there may not have been a clean sheet and subsequently, that goal would’ve counted for nothing.
The 6 foot 5 colossus was an absolute rock in the heart of the defence, alongside captain Jason Pearce, he made a match-high seven clearances whilst he also put in three tackles, two blocks and one interception.
Industrious would be one word for it, but the centre-back was not letting Rovers score, even despite them having the bulk of the attempts (12 total compared to the Addicks three) and the majority of the possession (60%), as per SofaScore.
No other Addicks player was graded higher than the Englishman’s 8.1 rating – not even the match-winner Maatsen (7.8).
Despite being a man-mountain in height, Inniss wasn’t easily beaten by Doncaster’s nifty forward line, as he won 100% of his five duels on the ground to supplement his five of seven aerial battles won – making a total of 83%.
After 146 days on the sideline, the Addicks monster returned to the starting XI and duly delivered a mighty display. Inniss stole the show up in Yorkshire, and that’ll undoubtedly delight Adkins ahead of the playoff run-in.
AND in other news, Charlton heading for big mistake over Chuks Aneke…