Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Queens Park Rangers

  • March 10, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton completed their first league double of the season as they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 in a controversial game at the Reebok Stadium.

The game's biggest talking point arrived with 20 minutes on the clock as match referee Martin Atkinson waved play on after a Clint Hill header had clearly crossed the line, which would have put the visitors in front.

QPR boss Mark Hughes will have exchanged words with the officials at the break and his mood wouldn't have been helped when Darren Pratley headed Wanderers ahead eight minutes before the interval.

For all the controversy of Hill's first-half header, Rangers equalised three minutes after the break courtesy of Djibril Cisse, who appeared to be coming back from an offside position when he received a deflected pass from Bobby Zamora.

The relegation six-pointer looked to be heading for a draw, until substitute Ivan Klasnic slotted past Paddy Kenny with less than five minutes remaining to seal a huge three points for Bolton in the battle against the drop.

The game had been built-up as a must-win for both teams, but neither seemed to settle into their stride during the early exchanges and it wasn't until the quarter-hour mark that the first chance arrived.

David Wheater rose highest to meet a Ryo Miyaichi corner and although his header was on target, it lacked power and was comfortably cleared off the line by Zamora.

QPR broke straight up the other end and Shaun Wright-Phillips set up Joey Barton, who saw a shot deflect off Sam Ricketts and narrowly wide of Bogdan's left-hand post.

The visitors maintained their pressure and were unlucky not to take the lead on 17 minutes as Zamora crashed a superb volley off the crossbar.

Moments later, controversy struck. Barton's corner was headed goalwards by Hill and was clawed away superbly by Bogdan. Rangers appealed for goal but the referee signalled play-on, although television replays later showed the ball had indeed crossed the line.

After surviving that scare, Wanderers soon saw two players enter the referee's notebook as yellow cards were issued to Pratley and Wheater for poor challenges.

Bolton saw faint appeals for a penalty turned down on 34 minutes as David Ngog went down under a challenge from Hill, but their frustration soon turned to delight as Owen Coyle's side took the lead eight minutes before the break.

Miyaichi's quick free-kick appeared to be of little danger to the QPR defence, but smart play from Mark Davies and Martin Petrov resulted in the ball being played out wide for Tim Ream to find the head of Pratley, who made no mistake in beating Kenny from close range to score his first Premier League goal in Bolton colours.

After falling behind, Rangers hit back with two chances within a matter of moments. First, Wright-Phillips curled a shot over the bar, before Nedum Onuoha had a shot blocked by Bogdan in what was to be the final action of the first half.

Hughes would have urged his QPR players to forget about the controversy of the first half and they were level within three minutes of the restart, courtesy of yet another blunder from the officials.

Wright-Phillips' deflected pass found it's way through to Cisse, who appeared to be standing in an offside position. The France international waited for the ball to fall kindly, before prodding it beyond an unrushing Bogdan to make the scores level.

With one goal to his name, Cisse tried to put the visitors ahead just before the hour, but his shot lacked the power it required and Bogdan made a comfortable stop.

Wheater skied a half-volley over the Kenny's crossbar with 64 minutes on the clock, before Wanderers were forced into a change as Chris Eagles came on for the injured Petrov with 20 minutes to go.

Moments after that change, Zamora came within inches of getting his head to a Cisse cross that would surely have given Rangers a vital lead in front of their 1,500 travelling supporters.

Eagles smacked a free-kick against a QPR wall soon after, while Cisse sent a terrible over-head kick wide of the target as both sides went in search of victory.

Wanderers were lucky to survive with the game entering the final 10 minutes, with QPR seeing two efforts cleared off the line, before seeing appeals for a penalty turned down as the ball looked to have hit Wheater square in the face.

The game was to have a winner, though, and it would prove to be Bolton as Klasnic got on the end of a superb through ball from Miyaichi, before composing himself and slotting past into the far corner of Kenny's goal.

QPR should have had a penalty in stoppage time as Reo-Coker clattered into Onuoha, but Wanderers survived the scare and claimed only their third home league victory of a difficult campaign.

The win temporarily moves Coyle's side out of the bottom three and up to 16th place in the Premier League table ahead of Saturday's afternoon games.

Next up for the Trotters is an FA Cup quarter-final tie at Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday. They return to league action on Tuesday week when they make the trip to Aston Villa.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, M Davies, Pratley (Klasnic 80), Miyaichi, Ngog (Muamba 89), Petrov (Eagles 71)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Knight, K Davies, Sordell
Booked: Pratley, Wheater
Goals: Pratley 37, Klasnic 86

Queens Park Rangers: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Traore (Taiwo 80), Barton, Diakite, Derry (Buzsaky 79), Wright-Phillips (Mackie 80), Cisse, Zamora
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Young
Booked: Onuoha, Diakite
Goals: Cisse 48

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 21,551

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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