Bolton pip resilient Rangers

Bolton pip resilient Rangers

Drogba nets Chelsea winner; Liverpool lose

Bolton Wanderers claimed a vital 2-1 victory over Queen's Park Rangers to climb out of the Premier League's relegation zone on Saturday in a basement scrap that again raised calls for goalline technology.

ON A HIGH: Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring the winner against Stoke City in the English Premier League match at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday. AFP

On a day when the spotlight was on the clubs fighting to stay up, QPR were left to rue having a goal ruled out in the first half despite Clint Hill's header clearly crossing the line before being clawed out by Bolton's keeper.  They ended the day in the bottom three after Blackburn Rovers won the day's other basement clash, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Molineux.

With the title protagonists, Manchester City and Manchester United, not in action until Sunday, fifth-placed Chelsea boosted their top-four hopes with a 1-0 home defeat of Stoke City in Roberto Di Matteo's first league game as caretaker manager to move level on points with Arsenal.

Liverpool's hopes of a top-four finish faded further after a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.  Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who are four points ahead of their two London rivals, face Everton later while Arsenal host Newcastle United on Monday.

Ivan Klasnic struck a late winner for Bolton after QPR's French striker Djibril Cisse had cancelled out Darren Pratley's opener for the home side but Hill's "ghost goal" after 20 minutes was the talking point of a scrappy match.

Hill's firm header from a corner was clawed out by Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan but although the ball had clearly crossed the line it was not awarded by referee Martin Atkinson despite his assistant having a clear view of the incident.

Victory lifted Bolton to 17th place with 23 points, one ahead of QPR who dropped into the bottom three after Blackburn beat Wolves with two goals by Junior Hoilett.

"I'm really disappointed in the performance of the officials," QPR manager Mark Hughes told the BBC.

Even Cisse's equaliser after 48 minutes was suspect, the France striker appearing offside before receiving the ball.

However, QPR were denied a vital point when Klasnic won it for the home side after 86 minutes, showing a cool head to steer a shot past Paddy Kenny after being played in by Ryo Miyaichi's astute pass in a crowded area.

A week after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea secured three vital points against Stoke with Didier Drogba scoring the only goal of the match at Stamford Bridge.

The Ivorian notched his 100th Premier League goal after Juan Mata's pass sent him clear and he went round Stoke's keeper Asmir Begovic to secure the points.

Liverpool's remote hopes of a top-four finish all but ended as they went down to Sunderland, who are now just two points below Kenny Dalglish's side. Nicklas Bendtner scored the winner.  Aston Villa moved towards mid-table safety as Andreas Weimann secured a last-gasp 1-0 home victory over Fulham.

Leaders Manchester City are away at Swansea City on Sunday when second-placed Manchester United host West Bromwich Albion.