Both managers praised Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Sharp after the game between Doncaster and Middlesbrough at the Keepmoat on Tuesday night.
Sharp was back in the side for Doncaster just three days after the death of his two day old son Louie.
The game was preceded by a minute`s applause for Louie and Sharp marked the occasion by putting Doncaster ahead with an exquisite chip. After scoring Sharp revealed a t-shirt under his shirt that read, ‘That`s for you son`.
For once, it was great to see a referee (Darren Deadman) use a bit of common sense in these circumstances by not producing a yellow card.
Speaking on BBC Sport, Doncaster manager Dean Saunders said, ‘He rung me and asked if he could play – he wanted to play. He wanted to score a goal for his son and his family and he was ready to go. When he said that to me I couldn’t really refuse.
‘You won’t score a better goal than that – it’s incredible. I thought ‘the story’s already been written. He’s going to end up with a hat-trick here and we’re going to win 3-0’.
‘It didn’t turn out that way but I’m really proud that he wanted to play and it tells you a bit about him as a man. There’s not many people who would have done that.’
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray was also full of praise for Sharp when he said, ‘Taking the professionalism out of it, I’m delighted for the boy that he’s scored such a fantastic goal on such an occasion for him.
‘It’s amazing to think for anyone who’s had children the emotional drain that must have been with him – I couldn’t put it into words.
‘For him to score a wonder-goal, your headlines should be there really – a goal from heaven.’
Unfortunately for Sharp and Doncaster, Middlesbrough fought back to win the game 3-1 but it was a night when a football result seemed irrelevant to what had happened to Billy Sharp and his family.
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