IF QPR are taking the plunge – they are going down fighting. A dreadful start, and a great fight back was nowhere near enough to dent a neat Fulham who were coasting 3-0.
It says something for Harry Redknapp’s restorative powers his side’s second half was a world apart from the first.
But even though Steve Sidwell was sent off in the final 10 minutes for a tough challenge on Armand Traore, Rangers ran out of steam and time.
Their stay in the Premier League is also on the ropes after this defeat – but to score two in the second half was a tiny bit of consolation.
Early on, Damien Duff was allowed far too much room and space to test Julio Cesar from range, and even the follow-up – a chip into the box from Bryan Ruiz needed a timely header from Traore to prevent a Dimitar Berbatov header and a certain goal.
Not that it mattered.
Chris Samba (pic), who has been a rock for Rangers, was turned 180 degrees by the Bulgarian, and Ashkan Dejagah nipped in with the Rangers defender’s right foot a convenient prop on which to tumble.
Berbatov sent Cesar the wrong way from the spot.
Five minutes later, Clint Hill’s late challenge that saw Giorgos Karagounis somersaulted through the air earned a deserved yellow.
But if Samba thought he was having a bad night so far – he must have felt like diving in the Thames a short time later.
An innocuous pass back caught him in a dither. Duff robbed him, and Berbatov – who else, helped himself to slide the ball past a stranded Cesar.
The prodigal son in the shape of Bobby Zamora, returning for the first time since his switch up the road, turned and fired in one hit, but as the ball was closer to the middle of the stand than the net – the ironic cheers were almost as loud as the two goals.
The audacious bit of skill from Berbatov that saw him turn, chip Traore, control and nearly add a third was worth the admission alone – unless you were Harry Redknapp, that is.
Even Brede Hangeland got in on telling tricks.
The defender celebrated a new contract by back-heeling into the path of John Arne Riise on the byline to fire hard across and catch the back of the hapless Hill and in.
Hope, or at least a vestige of it, was restored when Karagounis made a dreadful hash of back pass to gift Taarabt who did magnificently to crash a low shot into the far corner Schwarzer could only get a despairing hand to.
Karagounis decided to even up the gaffes when he tripped Taarabt going nowhere in the box minutes into the second half.
But Loic Remy’s low penalty saw Schwarzer get a hand that this time did the job to deny the Frenchman.
Remy atoned brilliantly when a couple of minutes later he was set free beyond Senderos to smash home via the underside of the bar.
Zamora’s drive from 20 yards once again had Schwarzer at full stretch, but the drama got ramped up further when Sidwell’s red-card tackle saw Fulham force to hang on for a frantic finale.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Sidwell; Dejagah (Emanuelson 38, Frimpong 80), Karagounis, Duff; Ruiz, Berbatov
Subs not used: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Rodallega, Frei
QPR: Cesar, Bosingwa, Samba, Hill (Onuoha 46), Traore (Mackie 84); Jenas; M’Bia, Taarabt (Hoilett 75), Townsend; Remy, Zamora; subs not used: Green, Park, Granero, Ben Haim