Premier League - Controversy as Bolton beat QPR

Sat, 10 Mar 15:12:00 2012

Ivan Klasnic struck a crucial late winner for Bolton as they defeated relegation rivals QPR 2-1, but the home side benefitted from a terrible piece of officiating as Clint Hill was denied a clear goal at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton 2 QPR 1

A week after the International Football Association Board approved the use of goal-line technology in principle, opening the way for its formal use in the Premier League as early as next season, a reminder of the need to embrace innovation arrived after 20 minutes when the match officials failed to spot that Hill's header had crossed the line by a yard before being clawed out by Adam Bogdan.

The FA almost immediately issued a statement calling for the speedy introduction of technology, while QPR captain Joey Barton claimed on Twitter that the referee had told him: "Don't blame us blame, the FA for not having goal line technology!"

The incident brought to mind a famous non-goal from Bolton defender Gerry Taggart against Everton in 1997 at the same stadium, with the Trotters eventually being relegated on goal difference that season, and QPR's frustration deepened when Darren Pratley was then left unmarked to head Bolton in front on 37 minutes.

However, any searing sense of injustice on QPR's part should have abated three minutes into the second half as Djibril Cisse was clearly offside when he collected a pass from Shaun Wright-Phillips and converted the equaliser.

With Bolton having lost four games in succession to start the game in 19th place, two points behind QPR, defeat was unthinkable. Although the visitors enjoyed the greater number of chances as Mark Hughes looked for only a third win in 10 games - with Nedum Onuoha denied a late penalty - it was the Trotters who snatched a vital victory when Klasnic stroked the ball home with four minutes remaining.

The result takes Bolton out of the relegation zone and into 16th place, with QPR dropping down a place to 17th.

Bolton had won only two of their past 15 home league games approaching this fixture, losing 11, but enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure from the start against QPR, with David Ngog looking lively when he produced a superb first touch from a square pass from Ryo Miyaichi, only to then drag his shot wide.

However, QPR held firm under a barrage of early set-pieces and soon responded when Bobby Zamora struck the woodwork. A well-constructed passing move concluded when Cisse chipped a nice pass out to the left of the box to find his strike partner, who delayed a second before thumping a firm left-footed volley against the bar from a tight angle.

Rangers had lost five of their previous six league meetings with Bolton but on 20 minutes were denied the chance to take a potentially decisive lead by a dismal piece of officiating.

Hill got a firm head to a corner from Joey Barton and saw the ball cross the line by around a foot before Bogdan was able to divert it onto the underside of the bar and away with his wrist. However, neither referee Martin Atkinson nor his assistant Bob Pollock spotted as much, leaving QPR angered as play continued.

By now well on top, QPR went close minutes later when Zamora knocked the ball down for Shaun Wright-Phillips, who met a bouncing ball well with a volley that flew just wide of the post. Bolton by contrast were limited to a lamentable attempt from Ngog to win a penalty when throwing himself to ground under little contact.

However, that changed on 37 minutes when Bolton took the lead. In a rare moment of quality from the home side, Miyaichi took a free kick square and Mark Davies and Martin Petrov were both involved before Tim Ream, bombing forward on the left, picked out the unmarked Pratley, who headed home from six yards out.

A rather quirky stat held that Bolton had dropped fewer points from winning positions than any other team this season, no doubt a reflection of their inability to get ahead rather than their ability to hold onto a lead, and their vulnerability was demonstrated just before the break when Zamora and Cisse combined well to release Onuoha in the box, only for the QPR defender to have his low effort saved by Bogdan.

The wronged Hill left the pitch shaking his head at half time but just three minutes after the restart it was Bolton left in a state of disbelief. When Wright-Phillips poked a pass through to Cisse that took a deflection off Pratley the striker was clearly in an offside position, yet he was allowed to take the ball on and finish smartly past Bogdan for the equaliser.

It was the Frenchman's second goal in three games for QPR following his £4 million move from Lazio in January and well deserved given his excellent contribution to the game as a whole. Impressive in his link-up play, the striker then threatened again on 60 minutes when he collected a clever pass from Samba Diakite and tested Bodgan with a low effort.

Cisse also attempted an overhead kick but failed to get the execution right before QPR continued to push for a winner as Diakite saw two efforts blocked and substitute Jamie Mackie then fired in a shot that David Wheater deflected over the bar with a touch of his head.

Though QPR remained the better side, Bolton benefitted from a touch of class from Miyiachi as they stole in front with four minutes remaining. The Japanese winger brought the ball down in the centre of the pitch, took a touch and then played a lovely pass through for Klasnic, who steadied himself and then found the corner of the net.

To compound QPR's misery, Onuoha was denied a late penalty when Nigel Reo-Coker clumsily challenged him in the box, leaving the visiting players and their manager furious as they trudged off the pitch following the final whistle.

Tom Adams - @tomEurosport / Eurosport

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