Late goal puts QPR promotion party on hold

LONDON Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:06pm IST

LONDON (Reuters) - Queens Park Rangers fans invaded their Loftus Road pitch on Monday but had to put celebrations on hold when a late goal in another game meant their promotion to the Premier League was not quite confirmed.

The London side were seconds away from securing a return to the English top flight for the first time in 15 years thanks to a 1-1 draw at home to Hull City before fellow promotion contenders Norwich City struck late to beat Derby County 3-2.

The results left QPR top of the Championship (second division) with 85 points, five ahead of Norwich in the second automatic promotion slot and six ahead of third-placed Cardiff City with two games to play.

The players had been gearing up to celebrate promotion and fans had run on to the pitch to join in but they were stopped in their tracks by news of Norwich's stoppage-time goal and manager Neil Warnock was left shaking his head.

A vastly superior goal difference and the fact they need only one more point means QPR's promotion is likely to be a mere formality and they will be keen to seal the deal next weekend when they visit Watford.

The west London club were founder members of the Premier League in 1992 but were relegated in 1996.

A dark cloud hovers above them as next month a Football Association regulatory commission will rule on seven charges against the club relating to the transfer and contract renewal of Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin.

If found guilty after the May 3 hearing, they could face a points deduction. QPR have denied all the charges against them.

(Writing by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Ed Osmond ; To comment on this story: sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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