Sharp, the Doncaster forward, chose to play despite the death of his two-day-old son Louie Jacob on Saturday.

Dean Saunders, the team’s manager, said: “Billy rang me on Monday night and asked to play. He wanted to score a goal for his son and his family and I couldn’t refuse.

“It tells you a lot about the man and what he thinks about the club and his team-mates.

“I knew what was going on all week and I also know the finer details of what happened, which is worse than you think.”

Sharp netted the ball with a volley, 14 minutes into yesterday’s game against Middlesborough.

After he scored the goal, Sharp took off his shirt to reveal another bearing the words “that’s for you son”.

This was followed by a minute’s applause from fans and players to celebrate his life.

Sharp said later on Twitter: “’To captain the side tonite was an honour and a pleasure, the minute applause I was crying meant so much to me thanks to both sets of fans.

“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.

“My goal had to be something special tonight for my special boy. I’m so proud of him, and his mum @jadecarlie86.”

Fans and other players tweeted him back with words of support.

Matt Holland said:  “Thoughts are with Billy Sharp+his wife 2night after losing 2day old son.Delighted to see him score Very brave to play. #RIP”

Jack Widnell tweeted a picture of Sharp and said: “Billy Sharp revealing a ‘that’s for you, son’ tribute after he scored tonight. Massive respect.”

Sharp responded: “Seriously again its took me 2 hours to read all my tweets I’m in total shock for all ur support u have shown,love to you all.”

“I am absolutely overwhelmed with the support from ppl all over the world has given to me tonite, I really can’t thank u all enough. amazing.”