Five wins from seven for Blues after victory over Wanderers
Cole Skuse’s second goal in Town colours and a brilliant individual strike from David McGoldrick took Mick McCarthy’s side back into the top six.
Midfielder Skuse - immaculate throughout - broke the deadlock early in the second-half when his strike from the edge of the box took a big deflection to leave Ben Alnwick with no chance.
McGoldrick and substitute Bersant Celina went close to adding to Blues’ advantage but the visitors had their chances as well, Gary Madine sending the ball over the bar with the best of them.
McGoldrick wrapped the game up late on though for Town with a goal he had threatened all afternoon, cutting inside two defenders before finding the top corner.
Callum Connolly and Tom Adeyemi were handed their home debuts, with Luke Chambers returning from injury. Myles Kenlock replaced the injured Jonas Knudsen in one of three changes from the side that went down at QPR last weekend and the Academy graduate had the first shot of note, forcing a corner with a right foot swinger.
Bolton responded with Madine finding Craig Noone on the edge of the box but Dominic Iorfa was equal to the task, blocking the shot before Blues cleared the danger.
Noone found room on the edge of the area but Adeyemi robbed his former Cardiff team-mate of possession, then Iorfa burst deep into Bolton territory but couldn’t get his shot in after swapping passes with McGoldrick.
Noone fired over in an even opening 15 minutes, the recent signing for the Trotters then causing more problems for Town with a 20 yarder that was deflected wide.
Kenlock had another right foot effort smothered away from danger but from a counter attack, Madine had a great chance to put Jem Karacan in but Skuse spotted the danger and forced the ball back to safety.
Filipe Morais smashed a chance high over the bar, Madine much closer with a long ranger that Bart Bialkowski had to force behind.
McGoldrick found the ever-willing runner, Kenlock, but the Academy graduate couldn’t get his cross in, Connolly supporting on the other flank, David Wheater’s head getting in the way of his delivery as chances remained at a premium.
Celina replaced Connolly at the break, with Town going to flat back four and two minutes into the second-half, Blues were ahead - Skuse’s strike from distance taking a deflection off Josh Cullen before finding the net.
Bialkowski saved from Karacan as Bolton looked for an immediate response, Madine crowded out inside the box, while at the other end Adeyemi was thwarted by Wheater’s challenge.
Reece Burke had a gilt edged chance to level the scores on the hour but Jordan Spence made a goal saving challenge eight yards out. Madine was then presented with another very take-able opportunity but his lob had too much on it.
McGoldrick had the Blue Army on their feet soon after with an individual run that left defenders in his slipstream before testing Alnwick with a low drive as Town threatened a second.
Noone sent in a cross that Iorfa did well to prevent Morais getting in at the far post then Celina’s 50 yard run was ended by a foul by Wheater that earned him a yellow card.
Adam Armstrong replaced Mark Little in Bolton’s first change as the game entered the last 20 minutes, Madine heading over after Karacan had left a break for the visitors.
Adeyemi’s surging run and cross begged to be converted into an empty net but the ball evaded all, Alnwick then at full stretch to punch clear.
McGoldrick and Celina teamed up, the Manchester City loanee’s shot deflected wide, then from the corner the 21-year-old forced Alnwick into a save at full stretch.
Bolton made a double change with Morais replaced by Adam Le Fondre and Madine by Aaron Wilbraham, the second substitute heading wide from a corner with his first touch 10 seconds after going on.
McGoldrick showed some magic feet to dance between challenges but was wide with a curler from 15 yards but it was the Republic of Ireland international who had the final say in the game, finishing superbly a minute from time after a terrific run.
Town: Bialkowski, Connolly (Celina 46), Chambers, Spence, Iorfa, Kenlock, Ward (Downes 90), Skuse, Adeyemi, Garner, McGoldrick (Nydam 90). Subs not used: Gerken, Waghorn, Sears, Woolfenden. Booked: Garner.
Bolton: Alnwick, Little (Armstrong 69), Beevers, Karacan, Noone, Madine (Wilbraham 78), Robinson, Cullen, Morais (Le Fondre 78), Wheater, Burke. Subs not used: Howard, Taylor, Dervite, Pratley. Booked: Madine, Wheater, Noone.