Second half goals from Chris Eagles and Marvin Sordell sealed a 2-1 win for Bolton Wanderers against Middlesbrough at the Reebok Stadium.
The win was Bolton’s eighth home league win on the spin and Wanderers remain unbeaten in the Championship at home in 2013.
After a quiet first half, the game sprung to life when Eagles’ cross evaded Jason Steele to hand Bolton the lead.
Visitors Middlesbrough equalised shortly after with Kieron Dyer heading home from close range, but Sordell put the Whites back in front from the penalty spot after Chung-Yong Lee was tripped.
Boro had to play the final 25 minutes with ten men after experienced centre half Jonathan Woodgate was dismissed for the second bookable offence.
Wanderers made three changes from their last outing at the Kings Power Stadium. Sam Ricketts returned to the starting line up in place of Danny Butterfield, with the on loan full back named on the bench.
Welsh international Craig Davies made his first start in over a month for the Whites partnering Sordell in attack, with the pair replacing Josh Vela and the injured David Ngog.
Boro named an unchanged side from their midweek win over Nottingham Forest at the Riverside, with former England internationals Woodgate and Dyer both starting.
Wanderers quickly got into their stride at the Reebok Stadium, and within the first three minutes, Jason Steele produced two world class saves to prevent the Whites from opening their account.
Frontman Davies was the first to be denied, with his back to goal, the former Barnsley star turned away from Australian Rhys Williams and pulled the trigger early only for Steele to beat away.
From the resulting corner, Tony Mowbray’s men could only clear the ball as far as the edge of their own penalty area, allowing Medo Kamara to smack a first time strike which looked destined to nestle in top right hand corner, but Steele was again on guard with a fingertip save.
The visitors, lining up 4-5-1, with Scott McDonald playing as a lone striker, were looking to make it difficult for Wanderers to break through, and also showed their threat in possession with Mustapha Carayol and Sammy Ameobi carrying a danger on the wings.
Midway through the first half, Bolton found a way past a busy Middlesbrough midfield, with Darren Pratley on the end of a nice passage of play, narrowly hitting wide from 20-yards.
Ten minutes before the interval, striker Davies showed great strength to hold off the challenge of Woodgate but on the spin he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Middlesbrough could have gone into the away dressing room at half time ahead, Richard Smallwood dragging his shot across the face of goal with McDonald inches away from diverting the ball home.
The visitors finished the half strong with Wanderers clearing the ball off the line and Carayol having a goal chalked off for offside, but the score remained 0-0 with all to play for in the second period.
Middlesbrough began the second half how they finished the first, with Carayol tormenting down the left hand side and forcing Adam Bogdan to make a low save.
But it was Wanderers who went ahead in the 50th minute through winger Eagles, scoring his tenth goal of the campaign.
Bursting down the right wing, Eagles escaped two Boro challenges and his cross caught Steele off guard, looping over the custodian’s head into the back of the net.
The Whites’ lead lasted six minutes with the Teesside outfit back on level terms courtesy of Dyer’s second goal for the club since his winter arrival from Premier League outfit QPR.
Gambian star Carayol was Dyer’s provider for the goal; with a pinpoint cross from the left hand side, leaving the former England man with the task of guiding the ball past Bogdan into the back of the net.
The second half drama was far from over at the Reebok Stadium and just before the hour mark; Chung Yong Lee won Bolton a penalty kick for the second consecutive game with Woodgate booked in the aftermath by referee Darren Deadman.
England U21 international Sordell took on the responsibility and ensured Wanderers regained the lead steering his spot kick into the right hand corner.
Matters soon worsened for the north east side as they were reduced to ten men in the 64th minute. Woodgate, cautioned six minutes beforehand, tugged on the jersey of Sordell after the striker flew past him, giving the referee no option but to show him a second yellow card.
The hosts made their first change in the 73rd minute, workhorse Davies replaced by youngster Tom Eaves, who returned to the club last Monday after a successful loan spell at League One outfit Shrewsbury Town.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Boro were still proving to be a tricky customer for Freedman’s men, but Wanderers where fighting hard for every ball as they went in search of their eighth successive home win.
Bolton’s second change occurred in the 87th minute as the manager looked to add extra bodies in the midfield, striker and goal scorer Sordell replaced by Butterfield.
With Boro throwing bodies forward in search of an equaliser, Wanderers stood firm to hold on to all three points ahead of their trip to Champions Cardiff City next weekend.