Bolton Wanderers claimed a controversial 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers to climb out of the Premier League's bottom three on Saturday in a basement scrap that increased the clamour for goal-line technology.
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.
QPR dropped into the bottom three after Blackburn Rovers won the day's other basement clash, beating free-falling Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Molineux.
At the other end of the table, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur's slump continued with a 1-0 defeat at Everton -- the north London club's third consecutive league defeat.
Spurs are now only four points above Arsenal, who play Newcastle United on Monday, and Chelsea who 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.
Liverpool's prospects of a top-four finish faded further after a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.
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 Bob Pollock 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. The referee was let down by his assistants. Clearly the ball was over the line. The linesman is there to see that -- that is what his job is. The linesman didn't see it, QPR manager Mark Hughes told the BBC.
Hughes was also furious at the timing of an FA statement again calling for goal-line technology.
The laughable thing is The FA have come out and said they are all for goal line technology within an hour of the game finishing, I think that's absolute ludicrous, he said.
Trying to protect the poor performances of the officials that they supply us. It's a joke.
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.
Tottenham Hotspur have gone from being plausible title contenders to looking over their shoulder at Arsenal and Chelsea after a first half goal from Nikica Jelavic was enough for Everton to condemn Spurs to defeat.
It is the first time Spurs have suffered three consecutive league defeats under reign of manager Harry Redknapp.
Earlier, Didier Drogba's goal earned Chelsea victory against Stoke in their first league match since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas last week.
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.
Stoke ended with 10 men after Ricardo Fuller was sent off for a stamp on Branislav Ivanovic.
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.
The title race resumes on Sunday when leaders Manchester City are away at Swansea City and second-placed Manchester United, who are two points behind their local rivals, host West Bromwich Albion.
(Editing by Ken Ferris; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)