FOR Clint Hill read Gerry Taggart, for Adam Bogdan read Terry Phelan, for Bob Pollock read Stephen Lodge – the sense of irony in QPR’s phantom goal wasn’t lost among those hardy souls who follow Bolton Wanderers.

It’s 15 years since the brand new Reebok Stadium got a controversial Premier League baptism that September night against Everton.

The “goal that never was” has become the stuff of legend at Wanderers, not least because of what hardships the club endured after dropping out of the top flight by such fine margins under Colin Todd.

One hopes such misery isn’t experienced by QPR after the latest advertisment for goal-line technology was played out in glorious technicolour in front of the whole country.

But however lucky they were that referee Martin Atkinson or his assistant Mr Pollock hadn’t awarded that early goal – Wanderers’ will to win was still greater in the remaining 70 minutes of the game.

There’s no room for sympathy at this end of the table. Yes, Hill’s header from Joey Barton’s corner crossed the line. But if we’re being pedantic, then should QPR have been awarded a corner, seeing that television replays proved the ball had bounced off Djibril Cisse not Darren Pratley moments earlier?

What matters at this stage of the season is the final score. So when Ivan Klasnic clambered off the bench to pass the ball into the goal four minutes from time – spookily into the same corner as Taggart’s header had landed all those years ago – no-one of a Wanderers persuasion gave two hoots about hurried FA statements, jumping on a bandwaggon running a decade-or-so behind schedule.

For quite some time now, Owen Coyle and his team have been building towards this run of games, assuring everyone they had enough to gain the necessary points to keep the club up.

And the first test was passed with flying colours, even allowing for the fact that the football rarely flowed, with nerves on show throughout.

But for the exhurberance of youth, it might have been a different story. Ryo Miyaichi has only been in professional football for two seasons, so perhaps hasn’t quite got to grasp with the gravity of the situation.

The 19-year-old didn’t have a care in the world as he tested and teased QPR, producing the game’s single outstanding moment with a pass to Klasnic in the dying moments, who as normal was the right man in the right spot.

Of course, the visitors felt hard done by, but had they possessed half the killer touch shown by the Croatia international, Hill’s first half “goal” would have been an inconsequential sub-plot.

Before history repeated itself, David Wheater had already had a header cleared off the line and Bobby Zamora had rattled the bar with a rasping left-footed shot.

Hill’s header – or as the history books will decree, Bogdan’s superb save – stunned the Reebok into silence. Such is the technological age, however, it took a matter of minutes before the travelling fans had watched replays via their phones and were letting Mr Pollock know exactly what they thought.

Wanderers fans had reacted fantastically to The Bolton News’ call to get behind their club – as if that was ever in doubt – but had definitely made their feelings known before the opening whistle when Pratley’s name was announced on the tannoy.

The negative reponse rather confirmed the fact that the supporters are yet to warm to the former Swansea midfielder, who has found it hard to hit his stride since arriving in the summer.

Oddly enough, the man many have called for Coyle to play in midfield, Fabrice Muamba, experienced exactly the same problems early in his Wanderers career. And it is a testament to his class that he namechecked Pratley in his Saturday night tweet congratulating the team on their performance.

The only way Pratley is going to change hearts and minds is with performances on the pitch, and this was a pretty good way to start.

As QPR continued to grumble over the “goal” Miyaichi’s quick free kick into Mark Davies was played via Martin Petrov to Tim Ream, who chipped a neat cross in for the midfielder to head home. It was the kind of run into the box with which he made his name at Swansea, and the first Premier League goal of his career.

Bogdan was forced into a good save by Nedum Onuoha just before the interval, suggesting Rangers hadn’t given up the ghost, and within three minutes of the restart they were back on level terms.

Cisse looked a yard offside before he slotted home his second goal in three games, although in linesman Jake Colin’s defence, the waters were muddied when Shaun Wright-Phillips’ pass deflected off Pratley. Either that, or two wrongs do make a right.

It might be worth analysing what Wanderers are doing at half time, considering this was the 15th goal conceded within 10 minutes of the restart this season.

The Londoners looked more likely to force victory as the Whites started to surrender possession with alarming regularity in midfield. Only some last-gasp defending from David Wheater and Co kept them at bay.

They also got a slice of luck when ref Atkinson waved away two penalty appeals in quick succession as sub Chris Eagles appeared to handball, and Nigel Reo-Coker got away with a cumbersome challenge on the lively Cisse.

Not for the first time, the final say went to Klasnic. Starved of first team starts since Christmas, the poacher has been a casualty of the 4-5-1 system and it seems a near-impossible task to factor him into the equation nowadays.

But what a reminder he gave of his finishing talents, latching on to a wonderful pass from Miyaichi to tuck the ball into the bottom corner where, this time, Phelan wasn’t waiting to shank a clearance to safety.

What difference it makes to the grand plan, we’ll only know at the end of the season, but on Saturday afternoon it felt like a sea change.

We have been here before, of course, and next weekend’s cup game at Spurs now looks like an obstacle to this renewed momentum.

But if Wanderers’ season is finally about to flicker into life – and QPR’s to deteriorate faced with a daunting run-in – then it won’t be the last we hear of the “goal that never was – mark two”.