Striker Barry Corr dedicated his goal against Exeter City to club physio Ben Clarkson.
The Southend United forward made his first appearance in 17 months in the 2-1 win at Roots Hall.
And after scoring with almost his first touch the Irishman paid tribute to the medical staff that helped him back into action.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the physio staff, especially Ben Clarkson,” Corr told the official website.
“He has put so much work in. I’ve never known a physio like him as he is 24 hours a day.
“He wants what is best for all the players and he has really helped me by putting in so many hours.
“That goal was really for him.”
Corr’s 78th minute header came just four minutes after playing in his first match since a 1-1 draw with Burton Albion in April 2011.
He missed all the 2011/12 campaign with a knee problem before a groin injury set him back this pre-season.
And having not kicked a ball in competitive action in nearly a year-and-a-half Corr admitted at times he doubted if he ever would return.
“There were times that I thought ‘I don’t know if I am going to be able to get back’,” he said.
“I was having quite a few setbacks and after the operation my knee kept filling up with fluid. Eventually that all stopped and I started to progress.
“I thought it could be over but I am a very determined person. I kept pushing myself as I had that dream of coming on and scoring and I managed to do it.”
Corr’s header against Exeter cancelled out Scott Bennett’s opening strike in the second half.
He had only been on the pitch just a matter of minutes before powering a header past Grecians keeper Artur Krysiak.
But the 27-year-old admitted he wasn’t even sure he would make the bench at the start of the week.
“If you had said at the start of the week I’d have been on the bench then I don’t think I would have made it,” he admitted.
“I was really struggling as I was stiff all over but I was delighted to be on the bench and to get on and score was brilliant.
“To come back and score I couldn’t really believe it. It was unbelievable.
“The ball came across really high and I saw everyone had gone to the ball so I had a free header. I knew I’d probably only get one chance to score so I decided to head it as hard as I could at goal rather than back across and luckily enough it has gone in.
“It is still early days though as I am miles off match fitness so I have a lot of hard work to do.”