Wolves started well and dominated the first half as Steven Fletcher was denied again and again. The home side eventually took the lead at the start of the second half through Michael Kightly.
However, just ten minutes later Bolton found an equaliser through a Martin Petrov penalty following Roger Johnson's foul on Mark Davies. Marcus Alonso then gave Owen Coyle’s side the lead before Kevin Davies made it 3-1 in the closing stages.
Wolves piled on the pressure in the final few minutes and pulled a goal back through Matt Jarvis, but it was too little, too late for Terry Connor’s team.
Connor called David Davis and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake into the Wolves starting line-up to replace Eggert Jonsson and Kevin Doyle, making two changes to the side that lost to Norwich last weekend.
Owen Coyle, meanwhile, had David Wheater to pick after the defender was rested for the FA Cup defeat at Spurs. Tim Ream, David Ngog and Petrov also returned to the team, while Zat Knight, Darren Pratley, Chris Eagles and Dedryck Boyata all dropped out.
Wolves took control of the game from kick-off as they looked intent on attacking and righting their recent poor form. With just five minutes on the clock, Ebanks-Blake was denied by a great save from Adam Bogdan after some neat footwork in the penalty area.
It was Bolton who carved out the next clear-cut chance in what was a quiet first half for the away side. Ngog flicked on Bogdan’s goal kick for Petrov to run on to, the Bulgarian flicked the ball over Johnson’s head with the outside of his right foot before firing a shot inches over Hennessey’s bar.
The game really came alive on the half-hour mark as Wolves had a succession of chances to gain the lead. Bogdan was responsible for keeping the scores level again as he saved brilliantly from another Fletcher header.
When Bogdan wasn’t there to foil Fletcher, Ryo Miyachi and the crossbar came to Bolton’s rescue. First, Fletcher saw his bullet-header cleared off the line from Matt Jarvis’s inch-perfect corner by the midfielder and minutes later, another dangerous cross from the impressive Kightly was met by Fletcher, who crashed a header off the bar.
In amongst the goal-mouth action for Wolves, there was still time for a spot of inter-team drama. Johnson gave Ivan Klasnic far too much space on the edge of the area but the striker wasted the chance and shot high and wide. Wayne Hennessy, the Wolves keeper, came racing out of his goal screaming at Johnson before the pair squared-up. Referee Jonathan Moss was quick to intervene as he calmed things down.
After all of their huffing and puffing in the first half, Wolves finally broke down the door of Bolton’s defence seven minutes after the break. Ebanks-Blake raced through the middle of the pitch before spreading the ball out to Kightly on the right wing. The midfielder cut inside Alonso and curled a delightful shot beyond Bogdan from 20 yards out.
However, as soon as Wolves took the lead, the away side became the more threatening side and found an equaliser just ten minutes later. Ngog picked the ball up in the Wolves penalty area and slipped in Mark Davies. The midfielder fell to the ground after a tackle from Johnson though contact looked minimal. Petrov stepped up and converted the resultant penalty.
Petrov celebrated his goal by lifting his shirt up to reveal a t-shirt with the message ‘Be strong Stan’ in honour of the Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, who has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Wolves‘ threat faded completely following the equaliser and memories of last week’s collapse against Norwich became all too real in the 79th minute.
Petrov planted a corner right onto Wheater’s head, but the defender’s effort was saved spectacularly by Hennessey. Wolves could only clear the danger as far as Petrov, who whipped in another cross which Ngog headed against the bar. Fortunately for Bolton, the rebound fell to Alonso, who tapped the ball into an unguarded net to give Bolton the lead.
Bolton secured all three points with seven minutes remaining. Substitute Eagles took the ball down the right wing and pulled a cross back for an unmarked Kevin Davies. The striker showed tidy footwork to fool Johnson before he fired a shot back across goal and beyond Hennessey.
In a frantic final five minutes, Wolves created a hatful of chances before Jarvis pulled a goal back with a tidy finish beyond the onrushing Bogdan.
Wolves couldn’t find the equaliser however, and their fight against relegation becomes more and more difficult. Connor’s side are now six points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League while Bolton move one point clear of the relegation zone.
Connor won't have failed to notice the resounding jeers at the final whistle, and the spat between Johnson and his goalkeeper Hennessey won't be much comfort. The win for Bolton secures the Trotters' first three successive wins since December 2006 as they begin to climb closer to safety.