Wanderers made it a merry Christmas as they gave manager Ian Evatt a 100th win as Bolton boss, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites ended their three-game winless run in League One as Evatt reached his century with the victory which lifted Wanderers up to third place in the table.
Three goals inside the first 10 minutes got the job done as quick-fire strikes from Josh Dacres-Cogley, top scorer Dion Charles and George Thomason ultimately proved just enough.
But the celebrations had to wait right until the end with Leyton Orient hitting back to score twice after half-time and make Wanderers work all the way for an eighth home win of the season in their final outing at the Toughsheet Community Stadium this year.
It was a remarkable start from Wanderers who were 3-0 up in the blink of an eye as they took out all the frustrations of the past couple of weeks.
The tone was set right from the start as Gethin Jones – wearing the captain’s armband in place of the suspended Ricardo Almeida Santos – released Dacres-Cogley for a cross that caused panic in the O’s defence.
And moments later the visitors were opened up again as the Whites went in front as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson played a peach of a through-ball for Dacres-Cogley to run through and coolly slot home.
Things quickly got even better when Charles robbed O’s skipper Omar Beckles and raced clear to rifle home his 15th goal of the season.
And with Wanderers in no mood to let up they looked like they had as good as wrapped up the points when Charles turned provider with a lovely swivel and pass to Thomason, who kept his composure to finish well at the second attempt after Sol Brynn had saved the midfielder’s initial effort.
For a spell, the Whites looked capable of scoring every time they went forward and after Charles mis-cued from Jack Iredale’s dangerous cross it took a sharp stop from Brynn to keep out a ricochet from one of his own defenders.
Inevitably, perhaps, the intensity then dropped before the break, although Charles should have made it four in stoppage time when he intercepted a back-pass from Dan Happe but this time lacked the finesse to beat Brynn with just the O’s keeper to beat.
That didn’t appear as though it would be costly but Orient made a double change at half-time with former Wanderers’ captain Darren Pratley among those introduced to try and stem the flow in midfield.
And eight minutes into the second half they got a goal back as the Whites lost possession to Theo Archibald, who broke away to square the ball for Shaqai Forde to fire home.
It was suddenly becoming harder work and with an hour gone it was very much game on as the visitors made it 3-2.
Again, Wanderers allowed the O’s to break and this time the roles were reversed as Forde crossed for Archibald to ram a superb first-time finish into the top corner.
That made it a nervy finish with Wanderers unable to respond with a fourth goal which would have ended hopes of a successful fightback.
The best chance came Victor Adeboyejo’s way but after being well found by fellow substitute Cameron Jerome the striker’s effort was blocked.
And it then needed a magnificent block by Will Forrester - impressive on his return to starting duty - in front of goal inside the five minutes of added time as the Whites dug deep to finally guarantee victory and go into Christmas firmly back on the up.
Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Toal, Forrester; Sheehan; Dacres-Cogley, Dempsey (Morley 90), Thomason, Iredale (Ashworth 88); Charles (Adeboyejo 81), Bodvarsson (Jerome 81). Substitutes: Mendes Gomes, Morley, Maghoma, Williams.
Leyton Orient: Brynn; Beckles, Happe, James; Hunt (Moncur 90), Brown (Pratley HT), Galbraith, Archibald; Sotiriou (El Mizouni HT replaced by Sanders 68); Forde, Pigott (Agyei 72). Substitutes: Howes, Turns.
Booked: Sotiriou, James, Archibald, Happe
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 21,482 (692)