Neil Warnock will have to wait at least another week before he will officially be in seventh heaven.
QPR’s fans thought they had secured promotion to the Barclays Premier League after a 15-year wait and ran on to the pitch in their thousands to celebrate following the 1-1 draw against Hull.
But less than a minute later Norwich scored a last-gasp winner against Derby to leave Rangers needing another point to rubber-stamp the seventh promotion of Warnock’s managerial career.
The stadium announcer tried, and failed, to relay the maths to the jubilant crowd but barring two defeats and a 13-goal swing from third-placed Cardiff - or the intervention of the Football Association - then Rangers will soon be celebrating for real.
“I’m disappointed not to have tied it up but it doesn’t surprise me with this team, we keep things going until the end,” said former Sheffield United boss Warnock.
“It’s disappointing but they have done brilliantly. We are five points clear (of Norwich in second) with two games to go, you can’t ask for much more. I think the fans know the goal difference is good and it’s a healthy position to be in.”
With former chairman Flavio Briatore, the man who promised the Premier League within four years when he bought the club in September 2007, in attendance, Rangers took the lead after just nine minutes.
Adel Taarabt’s superb through-ball found Wayne Routledge charging towards goal and the winger kept his nerve to tuck away his fifth of the season.
But after Heidar Helguson and Taarabt missed chances to settle it, Hull substitute David Amoo ensured the champagne went back in the fridge for another week when he crashed in an equaliser nine minutes from time.
At the other end, Phil Brown accepted full responsibility for Preston’s relegation from the Championship following the 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff and vowed to make wholesale changes over the summer.
Peter Whittingham’s sixth-minute strike from Craig Bellamy’s cross proved decisive as the famous old Lancashire outfit slid into their third tier of English football for the first time since 2000.
“I’ve just been upstairs and nearly broken down in front of the supporters because I hold myself responsible for the relegation - end of story,” he said. “You can say you came in too late or that the previous guy in charge was there too long, but I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think I could keep the club in the Championship.
“So I hold myself responsible for the relegation. If you look back, we didn’t get our first win until too late and after that it was catch-up time.”