Warnock appeared to be heading for a draw against his old club after Kieron Cadogan cancelled out Adel Taarabt's opener, only for Helguson to score three minutes into injury time.

Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni felt he was fouled for the winner but Warnock insisted: "They were complaining but I think they were just disappointed with the timing. He's up miles above everyone.

"Heidar was outstanding and it was one of the best headed goals I've seen in years."

Warnock, whose table-topping side are now unbeaten in their first 10 matches of the season, said: "It's a fantastic start and we have to enjoy it over the international break.

"I said to the fourth official before half-time 'what a great game'. If Palace played against Neil Warnock's team every week they would be in the play-offs. They were a credit to the club, now they have to do that every week.

"It was cruel. At 1-1 you cannot complain but they don't know when they are beaten, my lot. It's like being on a ride at a funfair at the moment."

George Burley felt his Palace side showed their inexperience after they drew level.

Burley said: "After conceding a bad goal we hung on and created a number of opportunities. Maybe we were a bit naive after scoring the goal and should have gone on the front foot not the back foot. I'm disappointed for the players.

"QPR are a very good side, experienced and strong. We have done well against them and Cardiff, we have had nine or 10 players out so we have to keep going and working hard."

On Helguson's goal, he added: "It was a ball in the box, Julian has gone to catch it and Helguson has jumped with his hand up - whether he made contact I'm not sure. The decision could have gone either way.

"Julian is a terrific keeper and played very well. He felt the decision was unjust.

"Usually referees go on the side of the goalkeeper but it wasn't to be today."

Burley defended Edgar Davids after the Dutchman's error for the first goal, adding: "It happens. He got a knock in the first half and it might have affected him a bit.

"You would think with his experience passing back from there wouldn't have happened, but he did."