Newcastle boss Chris Hughton paid tribute to striker Peter Lovenkrands after he snatched a vital 2-2 draw against West Brom just days after the death of his father.
The 29-year-old flew back to Tyneside from his native Denmark after spending time with his family in the days after his father Bent lost his battle against a lengthy illness to play in Monday's top-of-the-table Coca-Cola Championship clash.
"It shows great qualities from him as an individual. It was a very difficult time," said Hughton.
Lovenkrands made his mark on the game with a 54th-minute equaliser which ultimately extended the Magpies lead over second-placed Nottingham Forest to three points, while their advantage over the Baggies in third remained at six.
Hughton added: "His father was very proud of him and I think he felt his father would have liked him to play.
"His father wasn't a particularly old man and it was a very difficult time for him."
Lovenkrands will now be given further compassionate leave as his team-mates prepare for Saturday's return clash with West Brom at the Hawthorns in the FA Cup fourth round.
But he will return to Scandinavia having played a major role in a result which could yet prove hugely significant as the promotion race gathers pace.
The scoreline hardly begins to tell the story of a game which produced four goals - and might have produced several more - seven bookings and a succession of penalty appeals which went unanswered.
But ultimately, a point apiece was probably just about right, although West Brom substitute Ishmael Miller left Tyneside wondering just how he didn't win it eight minutes from time when he hit the post with the goal at his mercy.
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