A first-half David Nugent brace ensured that Wanderers slipped to defeat against Derby County at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams took the lead against the run of play in the eighth minute of the clash, with the striker given the simple task of tapping the ball home after connecting with Matej Vydra’s cross, while the former England international doubled his tally in the 20th minute with a close-range header.
The Whites did halve the deficit in second-half injury time through Gary Madine's goal to set up a frantic finish, but it was simply a consolation effort come full time.
Wanderers named an unchanged starting XI from the side who lined up against Birmingham City on Tuesday evening, with the substitutes’ bench also the same as four days’ previous.
It was the home side who looked mostly likely to break the deadlock inside the opening stages of the clash, with some clever link-up play between Darren Pratley and Filipe Morais deserving more as the latter whipped two dangerous crosses into the Derby six-yard box.
Bolton’s pressure continued, but against the run of play the visitors took the lead as Vydra found Nugent a matter of yards out, with the frontman given the simple task of tapping home past a stranded Mark Howard.
It was the Rams’ first sight of goal, and they had certainly punished the Whites with it.
Following their opener, County pushed forward and were eventually rewarded with a second goal as Nugent nodded home from a similar position to his first to double his own tally for the afternoon and his side’s advantage.
Vydra should have been on the scoresheet himself with 27 minutes gone as he found himself one-on-one with Howard, but the Czech Republic international somehow skewed his effort high and wide to the relief of those of a Bolton persuasion inside Macron Stadium.
It was an opportunity which left the home faithful rallying behind their side, with them willing them to halve the deficit by any means possible.
Vydra again came close just after the half hour mark when volleying over from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Wanderers were being forced back in their numbers as the clock ran down to half time as the Rams pushed to add to their goal tally.
Andre Wisdom had Bolton hearts in mouths on the stroke of the 45 too, with his mazy run from the halfway line and consequent shot trickling inches wide of Howard’s far post.
Come half time however, the scoreline remained two nil in the Rams’ favour.
There was one change for the Whites at the break, with Adam Le Fondre replacing Adam Armstrong for the second half.
And Alfie looked lively from the outset, with the Trotters’ No.9 causing problems early on.
Wanderers definitely had more fire in their bellies following the restart, with the visitors being forced onto the backfoot inside the opening ten minutes of the half.
Scott Carson was yet to be really tested however, with the majority of Bolton’s pressure being in and around the box as opposed to in the form of clear-cut goalmouth opportunities.
Bolton’s confidence was growing though, and the home fans were responding with their vocal backing.
Their efforts meanwhile were being rebuffed by a solid Derby defence, with the Rams packing eleven men behind the ball in a bid to preserve their lead.
Pratley came within inches of pulling Bolton back into the encounter with 20 minutes to go after chasing down Dorian Dervite's flick-on from a Morais free-kick, but Carson was just a split second quicker than the Whites' skipper and managed to safely smother the ball.
The home side were still trying their luck as the game ebbed towards its conclusion, while Andre Wisdom was lucky to stay on the field after avoiding what appeared to be a certain second yellow for a cynical foul on Andrew Taylor.
Morais' resulting free-kick from that incident caused a few problems in the Derby six-yard box too, but the Rams eventually managed to clear their lines after Carson had been forced to punch the ball away under pressure from Madine.
Aaron Wilbraham - a second half substitute for Wanderers - looked set to capitalise after the ball fell kindly for him 12-yards out from goal, but the linesman's flag ensured that he was stopped in his tracks.
Four additional minutes were indicated at the end of the 90, and the Whites ensured something of a grandstand finish when Madine rolled the ball home from ten yards out.
Despite their best efforts however, Wanderers couldn't force a leveller and found themselves on the losing side come full time.