Wanderers moved up to 15th place in the Barclays Premier League, climbing out of the bottom three, with a hard earned 1-0 victory over their Lancashire rivals.
Chung-Yong Lee was the matchwinner, striking home with the help of the crossbar on 35 minutes.
It was an extremely satisfying night for Owen Coyle, who not only recorded his first win in the Premier League as manager of the club but also saw his team keep their first top-flight clean sheet of the season.
On reflection it was a game devoid of clear goalscoring opportunities, but Bolton undoubtedly did enough to win the game even if it was by the solitary goal.
Right through from Jussi Jaaskelainen in goal to Kevin Davies in attack, each and every player worked tirelessly for the cause as Bolton made it two successive victories ahead of a testing trip to Anfield.
There was a loud and passionate atmosphere straight from the off as both sets of supporters tried to out-sing each other in the opening exchanges. There was a cup-tie feel to the game in what was an open first five minutes, and it took a clash of heads between Chris McCann and Ivan Klasnic in the eighth minute to simmer everything down.
McCann tried to continue after picking up his knock but had to be replaced by McDonald shortly after. It proved to be the first of two enforced changes for the visitors within the opening 20 minutes as Graham Alexander also had to limp off with an ankle injury. Martin Patterson was the 38-year-old's replacement.
Just after the second change, Wanderers carved out their first opportunity of the game. An inch perfect through ball from Kevin Davies was seized upon Fabrice Muamba, who showed strength and power to dart into the penalty area, however his shot was always rising and flew fractionally over the crossbar.
That chance sparked a period of pressure from the hosts as twice within the space of a minute Owen Coyle's side almost broke the deadlock.
There seemed little danger when Matt Taylor swung a deep cross into the Burnley box but a misunderstanding between Brian Jensen and Clark Carlisle resulted in the central defender heading onto the roof of his own net.
And from the resulting corner, another Taylor delivery was nodded just wide by Gary Cahill. It looked for all the world that the former Burnley loanee was about to head the Whites into the lead but he couldn't quite get enough purchase and the ball skimmed just wide of the far post.
Eagles ambitiously shot over moments before he wasted Burnley best chance of the half. When Steven Fletcher forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into a parried save, the former Manchester United winger blazed over from 12 yards out when he should have at least hit the target.
The same could have been perhaps said of Davies when he was presented with the ball at his feet 13 minutes before the break. Chung-Yong Lee had shown great anticipation to latch onto an underhit backpass but the captain could only curl his 30 yard effort wide of the post with Jensen stranded.
The near provider turned scorer as Wanderers deservedly got themselves into lead on the 35 minute mark. It was Chung-Yong Lee who notched his fifth goal of the season with an exquisite finish that just bounced over the goal-line with the help of the crossbar.
Davies had again delivered a superb through ball putting the ball on a plate for the South Korean. The referee needed help from the linesman as to whether the ball crossed the line but replays proved that there was no doubt.
Not for the first time this season, Chung-Yong had been the outstanding performer in the opening 45 minutes and Burnley simply could not deal with his threat. Wade Elliott became the first player to be booked when he cynically hacked the goalscorer to the ground, illegally thwarting another free-flowing move down the right wing.
The closest the Clarets came to equalising before half-time was a Fletcher free-kick on the edge of the area that was harmlessly deflected wide for a corner.
Owen Coyle waited until five minutes into the second-half before making his first change of the game as Johan Elmander replaced Ivan Klasnic in attack, who had endured one his quieter games in Wanderers colours.
Tamir Cohen had already shown his aerial prowess this season with a headed goal at Birmingham, and he came within a whisker to doubling Bolton's lead on the hour mark. It was a move straight from the training ground as Ricketts' long throw was flicked on by Zat Knight at the near post for the Israel midfielder, who could only direct his diving effort inches wide of the target.
Elmander had an attempt unfortunately blocked by his strike partner Davies and also flicked a header wide as he caused the Burnley rearguard one or two problems following his introduction.
Although clear cut chances were coming at a premium, it was fair to say that Wanderers had bossed the second-half. Burnley offered very little even after debutant Frederic Nimani was sent on by Brian Laws to help bolster their attack.
The three points could have been sewn up five minutes from time when Ricardo Gardner embarked on a solo run through the heart of Burnley's defendce but Jensen came to Burnley's rescue with a superb low save to push the ball around his left-hand post.
Vladimir Weiss was brought on in stoppage time to make his debut replacing Chung-Yong Lee, who fittingly received a standing ovation for his man of the match performance.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Cohen, Kevin Davies, Muamba, Chung-Yong, Klasnic (Elmander 50), Taylor (Gardner 77) (Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Robinson, O'Brien, Weiss)
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander (Patterson 17), Kalvenes, Duff, Carlisle, Fletcher, Elliott, Mears, McCann (McDonald 14), Eagles (Nimani 65), Nugent (Subs: Edgar, Blake, Thompson, Penny)