LEROY Fer was the match-winner as two goals in seven second-half minutes saw QPR come from behind to beat Newcastle United on Saturday.
Emmanuel Riviere’s first-half opener threatened to prolong the R’s misery after relegation, but Matt Phillips’ equaliser set the tone for an inspired second-half revival at Loftus Road.
Another goal of the season contender from Fer – finding the net from fully 30 yards – completed the turnaround to ensure Chris Ramsey’s men at least signed off Premier League proceedings in W12 on a high.
After the R’s return to the Championship was confirmed with defeat at Manchester City, Ramsey made two changes from Sunday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Nedum Onuoha returned from suspension, while Junior Hoilett was also restored to the starting XI. Yun Suk-Young dropped to the bench as a result, while Bobby Zamora missed out altogether.
With Newcastle still firmly embroiled in a relegation scrap of their own, it was unsurprisingly something of a cagey start. 14 minutes elapsed until an effort of any kind – Joey Barton forcing Tim Krul into action from long-range against his former club.
Five minutes later Remy Cabella provided the Magpies’ first shot on goal. His tame attempt from similar distance was equally comfortable for Rob Green.
Green was beaten soon after, though. A simple through ball caught out the R’s defence, allowing Riviere to waltz into the box before lifting the ball beyond Green’s reach.
Worse almost followed, but Ryan Taylor flashed a free-kick wide seconds later.
Green’s afternoon would come to an untimely end on the half-hour mark. As he dived bravely to claim Moussa Sissoko’s cross, an inadvertent collision with Barton left the R’s number one stricken.
Loftus Road was relieved to see Green eventually rise to his feet after lengthy treatment, before departing to a standing ovation as Alex McCarthy took his place between the sticks.
And McCarthy ensured the deficit was just one at half-time. Fabricio Coloccini looked set to turn in Daryl Janmaat’s fluffed shot, but his header was palmed away by the substitute goalkeeper at his near post.
Rangers made a double change for the second half. Yun and Reece Grego-Cox were introduced as Steven Caulker and Junior Hoilett made way.
And it almost made an instant impact. Grego-Cox was involved as Charlie Austin’s dinked cross fell perfectly for Phillips, whose side-footed effort deflected inches wide.
Austin had a chance of his own five minutes later. The R’s striker shrugged off the attentions of two Newcastle defenders inside the area but slashed his shot agonisingly wide.
Austin would turn provider seconds later, though. His next cross found Phillips again, who climbed above his marker to head home inside the far corner and bring Rangers level.
Austin could have completed the turnaround but he could only fire into Krul’s arms following a swift counter-attack.
The R’s faithful didn’t have to wait long for a second goal – and what a goal it was. An inspired challenge from Phillips in midfield won the ball for Fer, who swiftly sent a right-footed thunderbolt from 30 yards soaring into the top left-hand corner.
The strike sent Loftus Road into raptures, but the R’s faithful were almost silenced at the other end. Paul Dummett somehow blazed over from a couple of yards, though.
Meanwhile, Fer and Phillips combined again 20 minutes from time. This time Fer picked out his midfield team-mate, but Phillips could only sky his shot over.
Newcastle remained a threat, without seriously troubling McCarthy – who smothered a rare second-half effort from Ayoze Perez with 10 minutes left on the clock.
There was time for a late scare, however. Papiss Cisse – who replaced goalscorer Riviere – looked set to score but Clint Hill’s last-ditch block preserved the R’s advantage at the death.