Park Ji-sung scored in stop time against Wolverhampton to secure Manchester United's third successive Premier League victory while Tottenham returned to earth following its European exploits by losing at Bolton on Saturday.
Park scored his first goals of the league season to secure a 2-1 win over Wolves. The South Korea midfielder's opener on the stroke of half time was cancelled out by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in the 66th.
United is now two points behind Chelsea ahead of the leaders' match against Liverpool on Sunday.
"It was a long struggle," Sir Alex Ferguson said on his 24th anniversary as United manager. "Right on half time and right on the final whistle are amazing times to score.
"But Ji's in great form actually, he's been one of our best players in recent weeks. It was another really good performance from him today."
Tottenham lost 4-2 at Bolton after failing to replicate the ruthless attacking display that saw holder Inter Milan beaten 3-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Also on Saturday, Blackburn beat Wigan 2-1, Sunderland defeated Stoke 2-0 and Aston Villa was held 1-1 at Fulham, while there were 2-2 ties between Birmingham and West Ham, and Blackpool and Everton.
United's match started badly when Calgary-born midfielder Owen Hargreaves limped off just five minutes into his first start in more than two years with an apparent hamstring injury.
The gloom was lifted before halftime when Darren Fletcher cut in from the left before splitting the Wolves defence with a throughball that allowed Park to put United ahead.
But former United trainee Ebanks-Blake was in the right place to intercept a Nenad Milijas shot in 66th minute, turn sharply to round Nemanja Vidic, then drive a shot through the legs of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
Park, though, restored United's lead in the third minute of stoppage time after cutting inside the penalty area from the right wing two minutes into injury-time and driving his shot past American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann at the near post.
Ferguson said several players were feeling ill after a midweek Champions League trip to Turkey.
"Some players played with touches of flu and others with diarrhea, so we've done really well to get a result," Ferguson said.
Tottenham 2, Bolton 4
At Bolton, Kevin Davies scored twice — including from the penalty spot — while Gretar Rafn Steinsson and Martin Petrov also scored as Spurs suffered their second successive domestic defeat.
Spurs had threatened to make a late comeback after going down 3-0, with Alan Hutton pulling one back in the 79th minute and Roman Pavlyuchenko adding another.
But substitute Petrov added a fourth for Bolton in injury time as Gareth Bale failed to reproduce the impressive form he showed against Inter.
"There was nothing wrong with Gareth," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said. "He had some fantastic runs and crossed a couple of great balls.
"If people had got on the end of them he could have made two or three goals. I do not expect the kid to keep doing miracles. He will have good days, bad days."
Birmingham 2, West Ham 2
West Ham remains rooted to the bottom of the standings – two behind Wolves.
The Hammers had gone two goals in front at Birmingham courtesy of Frederic Piquionne and Valon Behrami. But Cameron Jerome quickly pulled a goal back and Liam Ridgewell tied it.
Blackburn 2, Wigan 1
Blackburn hauled itself out of the relegation zone at Wigan's expense. Jason Roberts beat the offside trap to divert Brett Emerton's right-wing cross into the net and add to Morten Gamst Pedersen's free kick opener. Charles N'Zogbia pulled one back for Wigan.
Stoke 2, Aston Villa 0
Stoke is only out of the bottom three on goal difference after being condemned to a 2-0 loss at Sunderland by Asamoah Gyan's double. Stoke had captain Ryan Shawcross sent off, while Kenwyne Jones' header was kept out of the goal by Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole's arm.
Aston Villa is only two points clear of the bottom three after being denied a victory at Fulham by Brede Hangeland's stoppage time goal. Marc Albrighton had given Villa the lead in the 42nd.
Blackpool 2, Everton 2
Blackpool twice threw away the lead within moments of scoring against Everton.
Neil Eardley celebrated his 22nd birthday by scoring from a free kick after 10 minutes, but Tim Cahill tied it just three minutes later with a powerful header.
David Vaughan restored Blackpool's advantage three minutes after half time, but Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks allowed Seamus Coleman's shot to squirm underneath him two minutes later.
"We showed a lot of character but we started badly," Everton manager David Moyes said. "We made the wrong decision too many times."