Sat 16 Oct 10
at 17:02 PM
Wanderers 2 Stoke 1
Ivan Klasnic was the match-winner as the Croatian international struck a last minute winner to register Bolton's first home victory of the season.
Wanderers went into half-time leading 1-0 through Chung-Yong Lee, who scored his first goal of the season with a cultured finish from outside the box.
But Stoke struck back minutes into the second-half when Rory Delap timed his run to perfection to smash in the equalising goal.
And as the game looked to be petering out for a draw, Klasnic volleyed in the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
However the Croatian's joy was to be short lived, as the striker was he was shown a second yellow card even further into time added on.
The victory stretched the unbeaten run to three matches and meant that the Whites had registered one solitary defeat from the opening eight top-flight fixtures.
Wanderers welcomed back their full compliment of international players, including captain Kevin Davies, who shrugged off an ankle knock sustained in his debut for England in midweek.
The visitors had brought almost 4,000 supporters from the Potteries, so along with a strong turnout from the Wanderers faithful, there was a lively atmosphere inside the Reebok leading up the kick-off.
Wanderers started brightly, putting goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen under plenty of pressure in the opening minutes.
Johan Elmander, who had found the net four times already this season, was the first player to attempt a shot on goal. The Sweden international managed a speculative back-flick following great perseverance down the left touchline from Stuart Holden, but unfortunately for the Whites it was directed over the bar from six yards out.
Holden was covering the yards early on, both with and without the ball. Indeed, the midfielder displayed the endeavour which had made him the Premier League's top tackler before the game to go toe-to-toe with the rapid Jermain Pennant on the right wing before producing an important challenge to halt a dangerous Potters counter-attack.
On 16 minutes Wanderers were particularly fortunate not to go one goal behind when Stoke's other winger, Matthew Etherington, delivered a vicious low corner which somehow evaded everyone inside a packed penalty area. Only the faintest of touches would have brought Jussi Jaaskelainen into the action for the first time.
Etherington was proving to be the visitors' main source of ingenuity and several times Bolton's back four had to be alert to deal with a further few testing crosses.
However, perhaps against the run of play, Wanderers took the lead through Chung-Yong Lee at the midway point of the first-half.
The winger had travelled to South Korea and back during the international break but there was no sign of jetlag as he produced a clinical finish from 20 yards out, leaving Sorensen with no chance.
After initially being tackled by former Wanderers Abdoulaye Faye, Chung-Yong regained possession to place an inch perfect finish into the top corner of the net.
Tony Pulis' men looked to hit back straight away and Bolton had to dig deep to ward off the threat of no less than three successive Rory Delap long throws.
And moments after the aerial bombardment, Jermaine Pennant curled a 30-yard free-kick against Jaaskelainen's crossbar.
Equally, ten minutes before the break, Wanderers were also the narrowest of margins away from doubling their advantage as Fabrice Muamba side-footed millimetres wide of the post. If the England U21 international's effort had been any closer then it would have surely struck the woodwork.
Stoke had a penalty appeal for handball against Zat Knight turned down by referee Peter Walton, Martin Petrov brought a world-class full-stretch save out of Sorensen and Davies towered to head fractionally wide, but there was to be no further additions to the score before the half-time interval.
Stoke got their second-half off to the best possible start by drawing level just two minutes after the restart through Delap.
An outswinging corner from Pennant was flicked on by Robert Huth and the Potters midfielder was in the right place to belt the ball into the back of the net at the far post from no more than six yards out.
Stoke had their tails up following their equalising goal and if it hadn't been for a smart block by Jaaskelainen ten minutes later then Dean Whitehead would have completely turned the game on its head in a short space of time.
After the visitors' revival, Bolton began to play themselves into the second-half. Elmander drilled narrowly wide, while Owen Coyle opted to introduce substitutes Matt Taylor and Ivan Klasnic to add an extra threat in the final third.
Likewise Ricardo Fuller was thrown on by Tony Pulis, however the Jamaican was forced off through what looked like a serious injury and replaced by ex-Wanderer Eidur Gudjohnsen.
As the half progressed the contest became more and more of physical battle, but ultimately clear cut chances were few and far between.
But the one chance that did come Bolton's way was executed excellently by Klasnic.
Deep into stoppage time, Wanderers piled forward for a Steinsson long throw. It was only half-cleared by the Stoke defence and on the turn, the substitute produced a thunderous low finish with his left foot to beat Sorensen and send the Reebok into raptures.
The gloss was slightly taken off Klasnic's winning goal when the number 17 was dismissed just a minute later for a second yellow card, but there was no doubt that the Croatian had certainly played his part in a superb victory for Wanderers.
Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong (Mark Davies 86), Holden, Muamba, Petrov (Taylor 66), Kevin Davies, Elmander (Klasnic 77) (Subs: Bogdan, Ricketts, Rodrigo, Blake)
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Collins, Jones, Pennant (Fuller 68 (Gudjohnsen 77)), Shawcross, Whitehead, Walters (Whelan 86), Delap, Faye, Etherington (Subs: Begovic, Higginbotham, Wilson, Wilkinson)