Georg Iliev scored the only goal at Macron Stadium as Wanderers clinched their second win of the season
An early Georg Iliev goal was the difference on the night as Wanderers beat Derby County 1-0 at Macron Stadium.
The forward poked home after ghosting in at the far post following a corner, and could have doubled the Whites’ lead soon after only to see keeper Mats Morch palm away his diving header.
Iliev missed a further chance in the second half, while Mats Morch denied Max Clayton a first Bolton goal.
Despite numerous Derby attempts on goal Paddy Kenny remained largely untested as the visitors struggled to hit the target, ensuring the Trotters held on to clinch victory.
Paddy Kenny started in goal as he made his maiden appearance in a Wanderers shirt, while, fresh from making his senior Whites debut at the weekend against Bournemouth, there was also a place in the starting XI for Max Clayton.
Elsewhere there were recalls in defence for both Andy Kellett and Oscar Threlkeld.
Wanderers started the game brightly and were unfortunate not to take an early lead after Chris Lester beat his man on the right before whipping in a teasing cross which was just out of the reach of Georg Iliev, before Max Clayton’s follow-up at the far post was deflected behind for a corner.
However, from the resulting set-piece Iliev soon made amends, ghosting in at the far post to poke the young Whites ahead after keeper Mats Morch had missed his punch.
The forward was denied a second moments later after connecting with Andy Kellett’s in-swinging free-kick with a perfectly-timed header, only to see Morch get down low to tip his strike away.
Awakened by nearly falling further behind, Derby began to press but were unable to break down a stubborn Bolton back-line, orchestrated by goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
Finding themselves restricted to shots from outside the area, Alefe Santos and Tom Koblenz both tried their luck from range only to fire straight at the former Republic of Ireland international, before Callum Guy curled narrowly wide from a similar distance.
Koblenz came close again moments before the break after Derby eventually broke free into the area, but the midfielder was unable to beat Kenny as the keeper palmed his powerful strike away at the near post.
There was still time left in the half for Josh Vela to pick out Andy Kellett in the Derby box, but the defender was unable to hit the target, ensuring the Trotters remained just a goal ahead heading in at the break.
The visitors continued to press after the interval with Mason Bennett twice coming close to levelling the scores, only to narrowly miss the target on both occasions.
Wanderers fought back and should have doubled their lead on the hour-mark after Clayton sprinted down the left before picking out Iliev inside the six-yard box, however the forward’s first time effort on goal disappointingly cleared the crossbar.
Clayton was involved again moments later down the right-hand side as the Whites enjoyed further opportunities to double their lead.
Playing a neat one-two with Lester, the forward toe-poked an effort at goal, only to see Morch stand tall and deflect it away.
After 70 minutes, Kenny again got down well to deny Santos, while Shaquille McDonald and Jamie Hanson both failed to hit the target when presented with good opportunities to equalise.
Despite a late flurry of crosses and corners into the Bolton box, the Trotters stayed strong at the back.
Oscar Threlkeld in particular standing out as he cleared everything that came his way, ensuring that Derby remained frustrated in their efforts to equaliser as Wanderers held on to clinch their second win of the season.
Bolton: Kenny, Maher, Kellett, Threlkeld, Taylor, Perry (Woodland 60), Lester, Vela, Iliev, Youngs (Woolery 66), Clayton.
Unused subs: Sellers, Fitzsimons, Campbell-Young.
Derby: Morch, Hendire, Lowe, Koblenz, Rawson (Sharpe 46), Hanson, Santos, Guy, Bennett, Bunjaku (McDonald 80), Calero.
Unused subs: Etheridge, Vernam, Moulton.