Wigan Athletic brought to an end to Wanderers' run of five home games unbeaten at the Reebok Stadium, running out 2-1 winners in a fiercely contested Lancashire derby.
Mark Davies' stunning second half strike from distance had levelled the scores after Wigan skipper Gary Caldwell had powered home a header late on in the opening half.
But parity lasted just nine minutes, as a swift counter-attack culminated in James McArthur firing home a loose ball after clever work from the lively Victor Moses.
Second half substitute Ryo Miyaichi came close to levelling the scores again, only to be denied by the returning Ali Al-Habsi on what was a frustrating afternoon of football.
Owen Coyle made two changes to the starting line-up that had tasted defeat against Norwich seven days earlier.
Gretar Steinsson replaced Tyrone Mears at right-back, though the more notable call came in the form of skipper Kevin Davies. He came into the starting XI in place of Fabrice Muamba, as Coyle elected for an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation.
Though despite showing early signs of intent and forcing a flurry of corners inside the opening ten minutes, Wanderers lacked any real penetration going forward.
Instead, it was the visitors who weaved pretty patterns in the midfield areas with Jordi Gomez very much the heartbeat of the side. The pacy outlets of Moses and Jean Beausejour caused endless problems, with former latching onto a superb half volleyed pass from James McCarthy before rifling an effort into the side netting from an acute angle.
McCarthy then rasped an effort across the face of Adam Bogdan's goal. Meanwhile, a series of flares were set alight in the only real action worthy of any note at that end of the ground.
Instead, all the action was in Bolton's half, and Wigan's persistence paid dividends on the stroke of half time.
Beausejour's outswinging corner seemed to hang in the air allowing for Latics skipper Caldwell to rise and power home a header.
On the balance of play few could argue with the scoreline as referee Howard Webb brought a frustrating opening half to an end.
Coyle introduced Ryo at the break in an attempt to bolster the attacking line.
Roberto Martinez's side continued to fashion a number of other goalscoring opportunities, the best of which fell the way of McArthur.
Moses was once again the instigator, skipping around Sam Ricketts before pulling the ball back into the path of the onrushing McArthur whose tame effort was gobbled up by Bogdan.
Wanderers peppered Al-Habsi's goal from distance, with David Wheater twice striking goalswards from all of 30 yards to no avail.
Ivan Klasnic and Tuncay Sanli were then thrown on in attempt to find a goal and Bolton then equalised through a moment of Mark Davies magic.
Having been on the fringes of the game, the Wanderers midfielder demonstrated wonderful technique to fire a half-volley up from 30 yards up over Al-Habsi after a long punt forward had hit David Ngog on the back.
One sensed that Wanderers could push on from there, but the visitors hadn't read the script.
Parity lasted just nine minutes, as McArthur atoned for his earlier weak effort to send Wigan back into the lead.
With a number of Bolton shirts committed forward, Wigan countered with Moses escaping the attentions of Wheater and Zat Knight. Presented with a clear run on goal, the livewire winger opened his body up forcing Bogdan into a low parry with the rebounds falling kindly to McArthur who duly swept home into an empty net in front of the travelling fans.
Coyle's charges continued to press forward, but again that left room for Wigan to exploit with Franco Di Santo forcing a smart save from Bogdan at the near post.
The nearest Wanderers came to a second equaliser saw Ryo force a top drawer save from Al-Habsi and Klasnic lash an effort narrowly wide of the near post on what was ultimately a frustrating afternoon.
Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles (Tuncay 58), Ngog, Reo-Coker, Petrov (Miyaichi 46), M Davies, K Davies (Klasnic 63) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Pratley, Muamba, Boyata)
Wigan Athletic: Al-Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy, G Caldwell, Di Santo (Jones 90), Moses, Gomez (Rodallega 74), McArthur, Boyce, Beausejour, Figueroa (Unused substitutes: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Diame, Stam)