Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor's footballing exile ended in front of fewer than 300 supporters huddled inside the modest surroundings of Damson Park last night.
Taylor was playing for Blues reserves in the 3-3 draw with their Tottenham Hotspur counterparts.
The embattled centre half, whose professional reputation has been savaged since the infamous tackle that left Arsenal striker Eduardo fearing for his career, returned from a three game suspension at Solihull's Moors well-appointed little ground with a low-key display that saw him have a hand in a goal at either end of the pitch.
Taylor coasted throughout his comeback. Not once did he commit his muscular 6ft 4ins frame into anything resembling physical confrontation in a non-event that was a far cry from the training ground agitators, death threats and official censure that have turned the defender's life on its head.
He could even claim an assist in the opening goal when he headed on a tenth minute corner for Jake Jervis to nod home, although he was also left on his backside just before half time when Adel Taarabt skipped round him, into the penalty area and crossed for Tomas Peckhart to level the game.
Birmingham's other goals both went to Garry O'Connor while Taarabt and David Hutton also found the net for Spurs.
The 28-year-old's attention will now turn to the heat of the Barclays Premiership and what he hopes will be an instant recall for this Saturday's crucial trip to Reading, less than a month after the lunge that saw him sent off just three minutes into the game between Birmingham and Arsenal at St Andrew's.
Television replays, newspaper pictures and Arsene Wenger's irresponsible reaction inflamed the response to the former Blackburn Rovers man, who, most sober commentators recognise, was guilty of little more than clumsiness.
He would have hoped last night's return would have been an end to the matter but the issue rumbled on when the Football Association yesterday rejected Fifa's call to impose a longer ban. The world governing body had asked the FA to increase the defender's punishment after he was suspended for three games.
Fifa's disciplinary chief, Marcel Mathier, studied the file of the incident and then said the FA should reconsider their decision. But the governing body has stuck to its guns and says the ban will not be changed because there was no clear case of intent on Taylor's part when he went in to tackle the Croatia international. They also insist disciplinary procedures should not be changed mid-way through a season.
However, they will review the whole issue of dangerous tackles and will set up a meeting with Fifa officials for their view. "It would be unreasonable at this stage of the season to change our disciplinary procedures purely on the basis of one case," an FA spokesman said.
"That would be a dangerous precedent to set. Serious foul play carries a three-match ban and the only cases where that has been increased is where there has been a clear case of intent and no-one is suggesting that happened in this case."
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has taken a personal interest in the case and it was he who demanded the file be sent to his disciplinary head. He has also called for much tougher punishments for players who commit dangerous tackles.
Fifa said in a statement: "A letter was then sent requesting the FA to once again review the incident in detail and reconsider the sanction."
Birmingham's academy manager, Terry Westley, who took control of last night's game, applauded Taylor for the manner in which he approached the test.
"I am delighted he got through the game and that ordeal is closed. He is now ready for the first team because he has had a game," Westley said.
"He was absolutely no different; there was no talk of it before the game. He got here early to try and avoid things and prepared himself well because he knew what was coming. He trained very well and played properly - just as he has done throughout his career."