Billy Sharp has thanked the Doncaster Rovers and Middlesbrough supporters for the part they played in an emotional night at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday.
Rovers striker Sharp took part in the midweek fixture just days after the death of his newborn son.
Doncaster announced on Tuesday that Luey Jacob Sharp had passed away on Saturday aged just two days old.
Despite the bereavement Sharp made himself available for the Championship clash with Middlesbrough and was handed the captain’s armband by manager Dean Saunders.
He also led a fitting tribute to his son prior to kick-off, with both sets of players and supporters commemorating his life with a minute’s applause.
The former Sheffield United Apprentice hit a wonder strike in the 14th minute providing him with the perfect opportunity to pay homage to his son.
In a series of tweets posted to Twitter after the 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough Sharp described his emotions.
“My goal tonight was the most important goal of my career dedicated to my brave boy luey jacob sharp I love u son sleep tight.thatsforyouson,”
“To captain the side tonight was an honour and a pleasure, the minute applause – I was crying, meant so much to me thanks to both sets of fans.”
Donny manager Dean Saunders paid tribute to Sharp. “I know what has been going on all week, the finer detail, and it is worse than you might think, he said.
But Billy rang me last night (Monday) and said he wanted to play because he wanted to score a goal for his son. He hasn’t trained, but when he said that, I couldn’t refuse.
Opposition manager Tony Mowbray also praised the night’s events. “For him to score a wonder-goal, your headlines should be there really – a goal from heaven.”
There was also praise for referee Darren Deadman who under the circumstances opted against booking Sharp for his t-shirt celebration.
Sharp received hundreds of messages of support from fans on Twitter as well as one from his boyhood hero Michael Owen which read:
“Well done Billy. Puts football into perspective. I’m sure he will be very proud of his Dad.”