Bolton Wanderers snatched a dramatic 2-1 late victory in their clash with fellow strugglers QPR on Saturday as the debate over goal-line technology was reignited after a blunder from match officials.
An 86th-minute winner from substitute Ivan Klasnic bagged a vital three points for Bolton after Djibril Cisse’s equaliser looked to have earned a draw for Rangers following Darren Pratley’s opener.
The win saw Bolton claw their way out of the relegation zone at the expense of Lancashire rivals Blackburn, although QPR are certain to be left in the bottom three by the end of the day after the late matches.
But the main talking point from an entertaining game was a disallowed goal from QPR centre-half Clint Hill after 20 minutes.
Replays showed Hill’s powerful header had clearly crossed the goal-line yet despite QPR protests, neither the linesman or referee Martin Atkinson were inclined to give the goal and Bolton had escaped.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle admitted his side had dodged a bullet following the failure of officials to award Hill’s goal.
“There’s no doubt we got a big break today, but we scored good goals. With 15 minutes to go, we threw on another striker and scored a terrific goal,” Coyle said. “It’s a valuable three points, there’s no doubt about it.
“I said prior to the game that it was going to be two teams going all-out to win, and so it proved. It was incident-packed and that’s what’s going to happen. Games will be like this until the end of the season.
“Nobody’s a bigger advocate than myself for goal-line technology. I can totally understand how Mark Hughes will be frustrated.”
QPR had started slowly but began pressuring Bolton’s goal after soaking up a bright opening from Wanderers.
Bobby Zamora had the best chance when he rattled the woodwork on 18 minutes, thumping a volley against the crossbar from a tight angle after collecting a delicate chipped pass from Cisse.
But two minutes later came the flashpoint of the match when QPR looked to have taken the lead through Hill’s header.
Rangers celebrated but no goal was given, ensuring the debate over goal-line technology – which Fifa chiefs have said could be in place by the end of the year – will rage on.
It got worse for QPR on 37 minutes as Bolton hit back to take the lead through Pratley, the midfielder punishing non-existing Rangers defending to head past Paddy Kenny.
QPR however shrugged off the disappointment to get back on level terms within minutes of the second half getting under way.
But this time it was the visitors’ turn to be the beneficiaries of a poor call from the referee’s assistant, Cisse appearing to be marginally offside before Shaun Wright-Phillips released his through ball.
Cisse made no mistake with the finish, deftly guiding the ball past Bogdan for 1-1.
Yet with fulltime looming it was left to Klasnic to strike the killer blow, the Croatian taking advantage of superb work by on-loan Arsenal youngster Ryo Miyaichi to slot past Kenny.