QPR champagne left on ice after last-gasp twist

Queen's Park Rangers 1 Hull City 1

The multitude, bedecked in blue-and-white hoops, were already celebrating on the Loftus Road pitch when Simeon Jackson scored in the 96th minute at Carrow Road, 120 miles away, to delay QPR's return to the Premier League. It would take an implausible turn of events, involving a 13-goal turnaround, but Norwich's last-gasp victory over Derby, combined with Cardiff's success at Preston, means QPR are not yet promoted.

Football folk are the last people to tempt fate, and Neil Warnock is as superstitious as any, so the public address had to tell the club's joyous fans the players would not be coming for a lap of honour, and they should all go home.

They will return in 11 days' time, when Leeds United are the visitors, in the hope that promotion has already been secured. QPR, who are at Watford on Saturday, need one more point. Even should they lose both remaining games, Norwich and Cardiff will have to win both of theirs, and the latter manage a goal difference swing of at least 13 goals. It is possible, but highly unlikely.

"It's a great position to be in, five points clear with two games to go," said Warnock. "We'd have taken that at the start of the season, but I'm disappointed we haven't tied the Championship up. A few words were said in the dressing room – their goal was Sunday league defending – but the players have been fantastic all season so I can't fault them really."

Had Rangers taken advantage of their first half superiority the mathematics would have been irrelevant. Wayne Routledge, running onto a beautiful through pass from Taarabt, put them ahead after nine minutes with an emphatic finish. Rangers, who had already gone close through Heider Helguson, continued to dominate. For a while, with the sun baking down as the blue-and-white hoops passed the ball around with speed and elan, it was 1976 all over again with the parts of Don Masson, Gerry Francis and Stan Bowles being played by Alejandro Faurlin, Shaun Derry and Taarabt. All that was missing was the punk soundtrack.

Neil Warnock's team are unlikely to reach the heights Dave Sexton's did when coming within a whisker of the old First Division title – not unless Messrs Ecclestone and Mittal decide to open their Swiss bank accounts – but they have the same attacking mien and Helguson, Kaspars Gorkss and Taarabt all threatened to close out victory.

Hull last won at Loftus Road in 1963, the year their manager Nigel Pearson was born, and had been beaten 4-2 at home by Middlesbrough on Saturday. That result all but scuppered their play-off chances and, said Pearson, was the reason they began so poorly. However, having reached half-time still in touch he changed to 4-4-2 and, he noted, "we recovered our composure and looked a different side".

So did QPR, who began to look more interested in preserving their lead than extending it. This handed the initiative to Hull and it was no great surprise when, in the 82nd minute, the unmarked David Amoo ran on to a simple long pass from Hope Akpan and lashed in the equaliser.

It was the 20-year-old's first league goal, but he took it with such aplomb one could see why his parent club, Liverpool, paid Millwall up to £1m for him four years ago.

Patrick Aygemang and Faurlin both went close to restoring Rangers' lead but it was not to be. Hull were little happier with a point than Rangers.

"We have to win our games and need others to slip up now, it's probably too much," said Pearson – but they can look to next season with confidence, having climbed from 23rd place in November. For Rangers next season has even greater promise, but first they must complete this season's mission.

QPR (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Orr, Gorkss, Hall, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Routledge, Taarabt, Smith (Ephraim, 68); Helguson (Aygemang, 77). Substitutes not used Cerny (gk), Connolly, Buzsaky, Shittu, Hulse.

Hull City (4-3-3): Duke; Chester, Hobbs, Gerrard, Dawson; Evans (Akpan, 12), Harper, Cairney (McLean, h-t); Garcia, Fryatt, Simpson (Amoo, 71).

Substitutes not used Oxley (gk), Devitt, Solano, Belaid.

Referee C Webster (Tyne & Wear)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent