LONDON  - Chelsea bounced back from their home defeat against Aston Villa with a battling 2-1 win at Wolves on Monday to relieve the pressure on under-fire manager Andre Villas-Boas. A last-gasp strike from Frank Lampard secured a vital three points for the Londoners, the veteran Chelsea midfielder pouncing in the 89th minute just moments after Stephen Ward had equalised for Wolves.

The Blues — who were jeered off the pitch after Saturday’s 3-1 reverse to Villa — climbed into fourth spot following the victory although Arsenal can overtake them if they defeat Fulham in Monday’s late game. A fiery encounter saw Chelsea take the lead through Ramires on 54 minutes, and Chelsea’s players celebrated by racing over to embrace Villas-Boas in a show of support for the Portuguese manager.

However Wolves looked to have grabbed a share of the points when Ward struck six minutes from time only for Lampard to rescue Chelsea at the death. “It’s a massive win. Everyone knows we are having a tough time but the determination shone through and I think we deserved it,” Lampard told the BBC. “The character showed as we battled through to the end and that is what the players are all about.”

Elsewhere Monday, Blackburn were brought down to earth following their away win over Manchester United at the weekend after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Stoke at Ewood Park, Peter Crouch scoring twice for the visitors. Blackburn looked to have got off to a dream start only for Christopher Samba’s early effort to be ruled offside.

Stoke then went ahead with Crouch netting his 100th league goal from close range after Blackburn failed to deal with Dean Whitehead’s chip forward. Crouch then doubled Stoke’s lead with his second of the match on 45 minutes to leave Rovers staring at their eighth home defeat of the season. David Goodwillie scrambled one back in the 69th minute to give Rovers hope but the home side were unable to find an equaliser.

Aston Villa’s feel good factor from their win at Chelsea was also shattered, with newly promoted Swansea scoring a 2-0 win at Villa Park. Swansea went ahead after only four minutes, Nathan Dyer punishing some slack defending from Stephen Warnock to dart forward and finish past Brad Guzan. Former Villa old boy Wayne Routledge then doubled Swansea’s lead two minutes after the restart, punishing a poor clearance from Guzan after Danny Graham’s shot crashed back off the post.

QPR captain Joey Barton was hero and villain at Loftus Road as Rangers crashed to a 2-1 loss to Norwich, a defeat that edged Neil Warnocks’s side ever closer to the relegation zone. Barton shot Rangers ahead on 11 minutes, drilling in a low finish from Clint Hill’s cross. But Barton’s joy turned to despair on 36 minutes, when the midfielder was sent off for an apparent head butt in a confrontation with Bradley Johnson.

It got worse for Rangers moments later, Anthony Pilkington netting his fifth goal of the season to level it for Norwich.  The knockout blow from Norwich came seven minutes from time, substitute Steve Morison grabbing the winner to end a desperate rear-guard action from Rangers.