Football: Football is a results business and you won’t find a single QPR fan who will care about their mediocre display in this match.
Hoops substitute Djibril Cisse defied 89 minutes of drivel to give his side three precious points with a late tap-in that transformed a somber Loftus Road into an arena that rocked to its very core.
The home fans erupted in joy as Cisse netted and they did so again seconds later when news filtered through from the north-west that relegation rivals Bolton had conceded a late equaliser to West Brom.
They were unbelievable scenes and ones totally out of keeping with everything that had gone before.
For so long it had seemed like the Rs would be entering a final day encounter away at title-chasing Manchester City sat in the relegation places, two points behind the Trotters.
Instead it is Owen Coyle’s men who remain in 18th, two points behind the team from west London, while Rangers rise to 16th.
QPR could yet go down of course, but that fact seemed lost on the hundreds on home fans, who raced onto the Loftus Road turf at full time to embrace their heroes.
It’s fair to say that nobody envisaged such a finale, not least the visiting Stoke fans, who goaded the home crowd with gloating updates from the Reebok Stadium.
Prior to Cisse’s late intervention, it said much about this game that its most inspiring moment came before kick-off when Al Pacino’s speech from the movie Any Given Sunday was played over the public
The Hollywood actor’s gritty team-talk, in which he implores his struggling grid-iron team to “fight for every inch,” was not heeded by Mark Hughes’s struggling side.
Aside from a first-half free kick from Adel Taarabt which brought a fine save from Thomas Sorensen and a Cisse header which did the same after the interval, the Rs were largely second best to a Stoke side chasing their best-ever Premier League finish.
The Potters should have taken the lead within two minutes, Cameron Jerome blazing over from Peter Crouch’s flick-on. However the visitors’ most impressive work was at the back where the likes of Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross and Matthew Upson gave Rs striker Bobby Zamora neither time nor space to make an impression.
The home side gave a marginally improved display after the break and were eventually rewarded for their persistence when defender Anton Ferdinand nodded on from Taarabt’s corner for Cisse to score from close range and spark those remarkable scenes.