Barely 24 hours after they had been told about the stroke that had left 42-year-old youth team coach Gary Parkinson fighting for his life, Holloway's men battled their way to a gritty victory at St James' Park.
Their manager, not a man usually lost for words, was left struggling for new superlatives after the game.
Asked if he was delighted, Holloway said: "That's an understatement, my friend.
"I am more than delighted with that. If there was a better word than delighted, I would like to think about it now and say it.
"I might make my own up - phantasmagorical, whatever.
"If you think about the end of last season, the trouncing we got here, if you look at how short a period of time it is, if you look at the quality they have got, I am absolutely delighted.
"My boys get stronger and better all the time and I have got to be careful that I don't burst with pride about them because we had the worst day ever yesterday in my football management.
"One of my staff is ill - I had to tell the young lads, cancel their game, I had to tell our boys and I couldn't be more proud of a group who even paid tribute to Parky on their shirts today.
"If I had known that, I would have gone mad because I wouldn't have pre-empted scoring a goal here, but I am very glad that we stick together."