ALEX MacDonald's contribution to Burton Albion's 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town has been highly praised by skipper Ian Sharps.
The winger has started the season in fine form and he netted his first goal in 17 months to open the scoring against the Stags.
That strike took two deflections off Mansfield defenders, but his second-half effort that thundered off the bar with the keeper beaten was as clean as they come.
"He probably hit that one too well, and I think the goal might still be shaking now," said Sharps.
"For the first goal, Macca has cut inside and hit a shot which he said was going in anyway, so he's claiming that.
"I thought he played well and he's done well all season really.
"He's come back with a great attitude, worked really hard and deserves every accolade he gets at the moment."
While MacDonald and fellow goalscorer Callum McFadzean will claim the headlines for the right reasons, referee Darren Drysdale had a game to forget, and was loudly jeered by both sets of fans for a series of increasingly erratic decisions, including the one to send off Burton midfielder Robbie Weir.
Weir locked horns with Stags' Jamie McGuire after Drysdale had failed to penalise consecutive fouls on Marcus Harness and Weir himself.
"It was our free-kick, and I don't think Robbie was too happy with how it went down," said Sharps.
"We'll have to look at the video and see what happened. Everyone makes mistakes, we just worry about what we do, not the referee or the opposition."
In the spell before and after Weir's dismissal, Albion found themselves under the cosh, with Mansfield pulling a goal back 15 minutes from time and threatening an equaliser.
And Sharps admits Burton's punishing schedule may have had an effect.
"We weren't at full whack, especially going forwards, but even defensively," he said.
"Maybe the games have caught up with us a little bit – we've had a lot of games at high intensity.
"But hard work gave us a good solid base to build from, and there were two bits of quality for the goals.
"In the last 20 minutes they were kicking with the wind and bombarding us with long balls, so we had to try to defend.
"We handled them reasonably well, they've not really had any shots on target.
"The counter-attacking is something the gaffer has brought in this year – we've got so much energy and pace in the team that when we break, we break at pace and try to score."