An emphatic display ensured that Wanderers secured the bragging rights over neighbours Wigan Athletic with a 3-1 victory at Macron Stadium.
Following a goalless first period, Max Clayton drew first blood for the Whites as he notched his first goal for the club since joining from Crewe Alexandra, with Craig Davies doubling Wanderers advantage with a thunderous header from close range soon after.
Lee Chung-Yong made it three minutes later as he calmly placed his penalty kick past Scott Carson after Matt Mills had been fouled by Leon Barnett in the area, and while Callum McManaman pulled a goal back for the Latics late on, Wanderers ran out winners on the night.
Max Clayton came into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Darren Pratley for his first start in a Bolton shirt, while Joe Mason and Kevin McNaughton returned to the matchday eighteen having been ineligible for Tuesday’s game against Cardiff City.
The game started with vigour shown by both sides, with Shaun Maloney and Lee Chung-Yong trying their luck for their respective sides inside the opening three minutes.
The rapid start continued, with Callum McManaman being allowed to unleash on goal from distance with the Wigan man’s effort clipping the crossbar in the fifth minute of the game.
With both sets of fans in good voice on a bitterly cold November evening, Wanderers began to gain more of a foothold in the clash as the half with Lee Chung-Yong attempting to feed an unmarked Clayton in the area, only to see the ball blocked as the death.
The visitors were still proving themselves to a threat however, with Maloney’s deft free-kick into the area being cleared away by Matt Mills following a goalmouth scramble.
The Whites were soon back on the attack themselves however as Dorian Dervite’s effort from just inside the box was blocked by a flailing Wigan body – an opportunity which seemed to breathe confidence into the home side as Scott Carson was forced to deny Clayton from a narrow angle in the 22nd minute.
Chung-Yong was certainly troubling the Wigan backline, with the Korean proving a constant thorn in the Latics’ side with his mazy runs and crosses, while Neil Danns was also testing the visitors in the heart of midfield.
As the first period wore on, Wanderers settled more and more into the clash with Wigan virtually penned into their own half of the pitch as tempers began the flare in what was proving to be a hotly contested derby clash.
With minutes remaining in the half, Mark Davies tried his luck from just outside the 18-yard-box having made a run from the half way line, but his final effort lacked direction and whistled just wide of Carson’s upright.
With one minute of added time indicated, the visitors almost snatched the lead as Espinoza and then McManaman unleashed on Andrew Lonergan’s net with the latter’s effort clipping the post, but their efforts were to be in vain as the half ended goalless.
Wanderers started the second half brightly, with Craig Davies powering into the Wigan box early on, only to be outmuscled just as he was about to strike.
It seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken however, and it was done so with 50 minutes on the clock as Clayton collected Chung-Yong’s clever through ball and slotted the ball beneath Carson to send Macron Stadium into raptures.
Visibly boosted by the opening goal of the game, Wanderers pushed forward in their numbers with Clayton almost having a second to his name as his curled effort flew over the crossbar by a matter of inches.
Not to be denied however, the Whites soon doubled their advantage with 55 minutes on the clock as Craig Davies powered a thunderous header home from close range after meeting Liam Feeney’s wicked ball across goal.
No more than Wanderers deserved, the lead was three on the hour mark as Matt Mills was hauled down in the area by Leon Barnett, with Chung-Yong despatching the resulting spot-kick with ease past Carson.
Unbelievably, it was almost a fourth with 63 minutes on the clock as Clayton broke free of his marker, but the young striker placed his shot just over the crossbar.
Wanderers were running riot in the clash, with Wigan unable to cope with Bolton’s pace and endeavour as Neil Lennon’s side pushed forward relentlessly.
Craig Davies came within inches of a second goal of his own with 18 minutes to go as Tim Ream played a clever ball into the path of the frontman, but there was just a little too much on the pass for him to get any real connection on it.
Josh Vela was next to get in on the action, with his long range strike clearing the crossbar by a matter of inches while Craig Davies again tested the Wigan keeper with a powerful drive.
Having failed to trouble Lonergan throughout the second half, Wigan did pull one back with 11 minutes remaining as McManaman drilled home from just inside the area with a well taken volley.
The visitors did attempt to pull themselves back into the game as the clock ran down, but Wanderers stood firm to pick up all three points and the local derby bragging rights.