Neil Warnock had insisted beforehand that he would not enjoy his return to Selhurst Park whatever the outcome and a fractured skull suffered by defender Damion Stewart took the gloss off a deserved victory for his Queens Park Rangers side. A 2-0 win with goals from Akos Buzsaky and Kaspars Gorkss means Warnock's men are all but safe and Palace, the club he left five weeks ago, must continue to fight for survival.
Warnock was barracked by a section of the home support for his defection but applauded for his two-and-a-half years at the helm by a far larger segment.
But, apart from a brief broadside at those responsible for putting Palace into administration earlier in the season, the Yorkshireman's thoughts were with the hospitalised Stewart, who was hurt in a clash of heads with the Palace forward Calvin Andrew when the game was but a few seconds old.
"I'm told the neurosurgeon is on his way," Warnock said. "A scan has shown a slight crack in his skull and there is some bleeding around it. It was a savage collision and you could see it coming. I don't blame Calvin, he is such a genuine lad."
Rangers had their noses in front in the 11th minute when Buzsaky, the Hungarian midfield player, lashed a layback from fellow countryman Tamas Priskin past Julian Speroni in the Palace goal. The home side took an age to recover and the fact that the left-back, Clint Hill, came closest to scoring, says a lot about a flat performance from Paul Hart's side.
Hart, who had a brief stint in charge of Rangers earlier in the season, saw Gorkss head home an Adel Taarabt corner on the hour to wrap up the points.
Hart conceded that Palace's fate is unlikely to be decided before the last day of the season when they travel to Sheffield Wednesday, who lost at Middlesbrough to remain third from bottom, one point and one place below Palace.
"That was the poorest we've been since I got here," he said. "It was doubly disappointing because we had a full house almost and we didn't deliver. We had a bad day and goals change games. I could see early on we were not quite right."Reuse content