Wanderers picked up a crucial victory over Sunderland at Macron Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The deadlock was broken inside 17 minutes as Zach Clough seemingly got the last touch on Filipe Morais' free-kick into the mix.
And the Whites almost doubled their lead deep into the second half as Jem Karacan's shot thundered off the underside of the crossbar.
But come full time, Clough's effort was the decisive one as Bolton collected all three points.
Phil Parkinson rang the changes from the line-up that lost to QPR at the weekend. In came Andrew Taylor, Dorian Dervite, Jem Karacan, Aaron Wilbraham, Filipe Morais and Zach Clough as Bolton Wanderers faced bottom-placed Sunderland in a crucial ‘six-pointer’.
Antonee Robinson, Derik, Tyler Walker and Reece Burke dropped to the bench with Josh Vela on the sidelines with an ankle injury and Mark Little serving the first of a three-game suspension.
The game opened at a relatively gentle pace with neither side testing each other’s defence.
Sammy Ameobi was seeing plenty of the ball over on the right hand side and was getting jeered at every touch by the travelling Black Cats supporters due to his Newcastle United connections.
The visitors had the game’s first threatening moment when Karl Henry lost possession on the edge of his box which allowed Ashley Fletcher to get to the byline and pass across the face of goal. Fortunately for Wanderers, Joel Assoro was nowhere near the ball.
But it was the home side who took the lead after 17 minutes through on-loan Clough. The Sunderland defence failed to clear a free kick that was swung into the box by Morais and the diminutive front man got a decisive touch to steer the ball over the line.
Morais was causing problems out on the flanks and his cross from the right found Amoebi with his back to goal and although he managed to get his header on target it failed to trouble Lee Camp.
The goal seemed to have settled the early nerves and with the home fans in fine voice Wanderers had their tails up.
Fletcher had a glorious chance to equalise on the half-hour mark when he sprang the offside trap, but Ben Alnwick quickly narrowed the angle and made a superb save to deny the boyhood Wanderers fan a leveller.
Clough then had a chance to double his tally but took one touch too many as he galloped into the penalty box only to be dispossessed before shaping up to shoot.
The game ebbed and flowed and Paddy McNair hit a low powerful strike on target only to be thwarted by the former Black Cat Alnwick, who once again came to the rescue.
The visitors were enjoying their best spell with Wanderers struggling to get out of their own half.
Fletcher was then denied when his shot from distance was deflected for a corner from which came a goal mouth scramble before Wanderers eventually earned a goal kick to settle their nerves.
The visitors commenced the second half just as they ended the first by putting Wanderers under pressure.
Billy Jones was unlucky to see his low cross from the right flash across the face of goal without a team mate getting a decisive touch.
Fletcher, Sunderland’s main threat throughout, should have done better when he received the ball just on the edge of the box but his effort ballooned high and wide over Alnwick’s bar.
Wanderers were struggling to get a firm hold of the game and manager Phil Parkinson made his first changes just before the hour mark when Adam Le Fondre and Derik came on for Wilbraham and Clough.
Aiden McGeady, who had only just come onto the field after replacing Billy Jones, blasted his free kick into the wall from the edge of the box after Wheater committed a foul.
Ameobi was unlucky to see a left footed curler deflect for a corner as Wanderers strived to kill the game off.
In the space of ten seconds Wanderers were denied by the hands of Camp and the cross bar after chances in quick succession fell to Le Fondre and Karacan.
Wanderers were determined to increase their lead but also had to be weary of Sunderland on the break.
It was gripping stuff as both sides were showing fight in their bids to survive in the Sky Bet Championship.
And with six minutes of additional time indicated, the Bolton faithful were left holding their breath.
While Sunderland threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser however, their efforts proved fruitless when coming up against a resolute Bolton backline as Wanderers picked up all three points.