Wow. Just wow. An absolutely gut-wrenching 90 minutes. There were a lot of issues with the referees, but this might be the first time all season that an officiating error has gone in our favor. The talking points are going to dominate most discussion of this match, but let's face it, when you are battling at the bottom you are going to need some things to go your way.
Bolton came out firing and played well for the first twenty minutes or so, but didn't create any real chances. Bobby Zamora gave an early square when he hit one off the crossbar. And of course, QPR scored a goal, a fairly obvious goal, but the linesman "didn't see it."
Bolton had a free kick, which they pretty much screwed up, but Martin Petrov managed to find Tim Ream of all people on the left wing. Ream was wide open, and put in a beautiful left-footed cross, possibly the best pass of the day. Darren Pratley was unmarked (or at least poorly marked) in the middle of the 6-yard box. It was an easy header and he finished it well. That seemed to calm the Wanderers a bit, and Bolton went into halftime looking relatively comfortable with a 1-0 lead.
Bolton came out of the locker room looking OK, but not especially confident. A few minutes in, Djibril Cisse wandered offside and the linesman didn't notice. The ensuing goal leveled the scoring at 1-1 and caused #poeticjustice to trend on Twitter (Not really, but it could have). QPR looked to be in the ascendency after that, but The Might Wanderers calmed down and got stuck in on defense. QPR had a lot of the ball in Bolton's half, but didn't create any real chances.
As the clock wound down, Owen Coyle once again waited too long to make some substitutions. He finally brought on Ivan Klasnic, who will be critical over the next two months. Ryo Mayaichi, who had been poor on the left for most of the match, managed to take down a cross-field ball and cut into the middle of the field. He then played a neat little ball right into the path of a charging Klasnic. The Croatian Assassin only needs one shot, and he took it with aplomb. Goal. Win. Three points. Out of the relegation zone. Not to mention a celebration by Ivan that seemed to pointedly remind Owen Coyle that he is, indeed, a man who scores goals.
The final few minutes of the match, including an inexplicable five minutes of stoppage time, were excruciating. Through it all, Bolton Wanderers managed to hold on for the win. A great win, a crucial three points, and up to 16th in the table. Hopefully a result to build on.