Smith is probably back to his best in his midfield position, and again he played a pivotal role alongside Kevin Nolan in the middle of the park.
But, having been booked early in the game, Chris Hughton had to pull him off the field and have a word in his ear as he once again walked that tightrope between yellow card and red.
The Magpies captain showed his stomach for the fight ... which is refreshing ... but he does tend to get a bit carried away.
Hughton made him skipper because he tends to be in the face of the referee for 90 minutes, and wearing the armband gives him the right to make a point.
Having been booked early on in the first half, Smith was perhaps fortunate to escape a second yellow midway through the second period after a stray elbow left former Mackem striker Chris Brown covered in blood.
OK ... hitting a Mackem is seen as acceptable in some quarters ... so the referee let him off with that one.
Chris Hughton: "The first one was a booking but the second one wasn't.
"It's a nice feeling to be back on top of the league, particularly pleasing after West Brom went top over the weekend, but there are teams in this division who want to knock you off the top.
"There's a real desire not to lose games and if you don't lose then you have a chance of winning."