Two goals in the last eight minutes earned Sunderland their first away win and left Bolton without a point at the Reebok Stadium this season.
Stephane Sessegnon broke the deadlock when he swivelled and shot first time past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Darren Pratley had a chance to equalise but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet stood tall and made the block.
Nicklas Bendtner made sure of the points in injury time, scoring from 10 yards after good work from Sessegnon.
Despite losing their first four home Premier League matches so far this term, it was Bolton who started the brighter with Pratley going close to finding the net on 13 minutes.
David Ngog was released down the right and, after a good run, he squared to Pratley, but his first-time effort went just wide.
The duo combined again on 33 minutes, again to no avail. Ngog did well to win the ball and pick out Kevin Davies who played a neat ball through for Pratley, but he slipped just as he went to collect and the danger was cleared.
The visitors got more into the game the longer the half wore on and had their best chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time.
John O'Shea met a free-kick from Sebastian Larsson on the left but his powerful header went wide of Jaaskelainen's right-hand post.
Sunderland came out the stronger in the second half, nine corners backing up their dominance, but at times it seemed like neither side would break the deadlock.
Kieran Richardson bought a double block out of the Bolton defence on 52 minutes, when he was played in by Sessegnon.
His first effort was blocked by Dedryck Boyata, who threw himself into the path of the shot, before David Wheater deflected his second effort over the bar.
David Vaughan and Sessegnon then both went close before Connor Wickham hit the post - his cross-shot having beaten Jaaskelainen.
The breakthrough finally came with eight minutes to go when Sunderland deservedly took the lead.
Paul Robinson failed to clear a corner from Larsson on the left, O'Shea headed the ball back across the box and a touch from Wes Brown played it into the path of Sessegnon, who turned and shot past Jaaskelainen.
Bendtner then made sure of the points in injury time after more good work from Sessegnon. A bursting run opened up the defence before he played in the Danish striker, who coolly slotted home for his second goal for the club.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "The bottom line is wherever we sit just now is certainly not where I want to be as Bolton Wanderers manager.
"Because of that start these games take on extra significance because of the stigma involved in being in the bottom three, you want to be out of there and moving up, and that's why today was a great opportunity to do it.
"What we must do is not feel sorry for ourselves. We'll look to address what the problem was and get up and running again as quickly as we can."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce: "We wanted them to try to enjoy it and let me do the worrying and thankfully they've responded in the right way. We played very well in the second half, which was pleasing.
"There were times where I thought it was going to be one of those afternoons but, in the second half in particular, we played very very well and got the result we deserved.
"I cannot remember going away from home in the Premier League and dominating like that."
- 22 Jaaskelainen
- 04 Robinson
- 05 Cahill
- 25 Boyata (Gardner - 53' )
- 31 Wheater
- 07 Eagles
- 10 Petrov (Kakuta - 65' )
- 19 Reo-Coker
- 21 Pratley
- 14 K Davies (Klasnic - 65' )
- 24 Ngog
- 01 Bogdan
- 12 Knight
- 11 Gardner
- 16 M Davies
- 09 Tuncay
- 17 Klasnic
- 28 Kakuta
- 22 Mignolet
- 04 Turner Booked
- 05 Brown
- 11 Richardson (Bardsley - 87' )
- 16 O'Shea
- 07 Larsson
- 14 Colback Booked
- 15 Vaughan
- 28 Sessegnon Booked
- 10 Wickham
- 52 Bendtner
- 20 Westwood
- 02 Bardsley
- 06 Cattermole
- 08 Gardner
- 18 Meyler
- 27 Elmohamady
- 17 Ji Dong-Won
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +4:08
David Vaughan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Gardner. Chris Eagles has an effort direct from the free kick, Nicklas Bendtner gets a block in.90:00 +2:37
The assist for the goal came from Stephane Sessegnon.90:00 +2:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Nicklas Bendtner - Bolton 0 - 2 Sunderland A goal is scored by Nicklas Bendtner from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Bolton 0-2 Sunderland.90:00 +2:05
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Gardner by John O'Shea. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.89:52
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Gael Kakuta played to the near post, Wes Brown makes a clearance.88:11
Darren Pratley takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.86:03 Substitution
Substitution Kieran Richardson goes off and Phillip Bardsley comes on.84:10
Gael Kakuta produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.81:46
The assist for the goal came from Wes Brown.81:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Stephane Sessegnon - Bolton 0 - 1 Sunderland Goal scored by Stephane Sessegnon from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Bolton 0-1 Sunderland.81:16
Inswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, clearance by Paul Robinson.79:06
Shot by Connor Wickham from 25 yards.77:15
Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line played to the near post, Ivan Klasnic makes a clearance.76:45
Ivan Klasnic is adjudged to have handled the ball. Free kick taken by John O'Shea.73:51
Connor Wickham takes a shot. Save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen. David Vaughan takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Cahill. Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Effort on goal by David Vaughan from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target. Foul by Connor Wickham on Ricardo Gardner, free kick awarded. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the direct free kick.72:46
David Ngog gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Turner. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.71:45
Foul by Ricardo Gardner on Connor Wickham, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by David Vaughan. Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen. Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Effort from inside the area by Connor Wickham misses to the right of the target.69:44
Nigel Reo-Coker challenges David Vaughan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Sebastian Larsson.68:19
Chris Eagles takes a shot from 25 yards. Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.
David Ngog takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.67:31
Nigel Reo-Coker crosses the ball.66:31
Free kick crossed right-footed by Chris Eagles, save made by Simon Mignolet.66:31 Booking
Booking Jack Colback is shown a yellow card.66:19
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Ngog by Jack Colback.64:24 Substitution
Substitution Gael Kakuta is brought on as a substitute for Martin Petrov.64:24 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Davies goes off and Ivan Klasnic comes on.64:24
Long distance effort on goal by Martin Petrov goes wide left of the goal.62:34
David Ngog takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.60:45
Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, David Ngog makes a clearance.59:44
Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by David Ngog.59:11
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Paul Robinson makes a clearance.57:05
Chris Eagles has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.56:32
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Gardner by Wes Brown. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.55:34
Unfair challenge on Nicklas Bendtner by David Wheater results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Nigel Reo-Coker gets a block in.54:57
David Ngog is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.54:24
Nicklas Bendtner is caught offside. Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.53:57
Connor Wickham takes a shot. Blocked by David Wheater.52:50 Substitution
Substitution Ricardo Gardner joins the action as a substitute, replacing Dedryck Boyata.51:49
Kieran Richardson takes a shot. Blocked by David Wheater. Kieran Richardson takes a shot. Gary Cahill gets a block in. Sebastian Larsson takes a outswinging corner.51:29
Foul by Darren Pratley on Nicklas Bendtner, free kick awarded. Nicklas Bendtner restarts play with the free kick.48:50
Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Martin Petrov.46:23
Unfair challenge on David Wheater by Connor Wickham results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.45:29
Martin Petrov takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +1:06 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.44:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Petrov on Stephane Sessegnon. John O'Shea takes the direct free kick.44:15
Chris Eagles produces a cross.42:22
Foul by Dedryck Boyata on Connor Wickham, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson produces a cross, Header by John O'Shea from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.38:41
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Robinson by Stephane Sessegnon. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson. Kevin Davies concedes a free kick for a foul on Wes Brown. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.37:08
Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Close range shot by Stephane Sessegnon goes over the bar.35:55
Sebastian Larsson takes a shot. Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a comfortable save.34:59
David Ngog gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Vaughan. Simon Mignolet takes the direct free kick.33:13
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nicklas Bendtner on Gary Cahill. Free kick taken by Chris Eagles.31:16
Unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Dedryck Boyata results in a free kick. Kieran Richardson takes the direct free kick.29:56
Sebastian Larsson takes the outswinging corner, Gary Cahill makes a clearance. Kieran Richardson takes a shot from a long way out clearing the crossbar.29:42
Connor Wickham fouled by Paul Robinson, the ref awards a free kick. John O'Shea restarts play with the free kick.29:10
Effort on goal by Chris Eagles from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.27:57
Nicklas Bendtner takes a shot. Blocked by David Wheater.27:25
Chris Eagles has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.21:28
Jack Colback is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Martin Petrov takes the direct free kick. Chris Eagles takes a shot. Blocked by John O'Shea.19:54
Kevin Davies takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.19:15
Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.19:15 Booking
Booking Stephane Sessegnon goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.19:03
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Robinson by Stephane Sessegnon.18:07
The offside flag is raised against David Vaughan. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.17:17
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephane Sessegnon on David Ngog. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.16:25
Nicklas Bendtner fouled by David Wheater, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Gary Cahill manages to make a clearance.15:25
Jack Colback gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Ngog. Darren Pratley takes the free kick.13:55
The referee gives a free kick against Chris Eagles for handball. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.13:22
The offside flag is raised against Connor Wickham. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.12:42
Darren Pratley has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.11:46
Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.11:46 Booking
Booking Booking for Michael Turner.11:35
Michael Turner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Ngog.11:13
Nicklas Bendtner has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a comfortable save.10:27
David Vaughan fouled by Darren Pratley, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.9:47
David Vaughan concedes a free kick for a foul on Dedryck Boyata. Free kick taken by Dedryck Boyata.9:04
Gary Cahill fouled by Connor Wickham, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.7:29
Connor Wickham is caught offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the indirect free kick.6:35
Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Robinson on Nicklas Bendtner. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, clearance made by Kevin Davies.5:54
Effort by Jack Colback from a long way out goes over the target.4:05
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kieran Richardson by Nigel Reo-Coker. Free kick taken by Wes Brown.3:37
Shot by Martin Petrov. Save made by Simon Mignolet.2:30
Chris Eagles decides to take a short corner. The ball is crossed by Chris Eagles, Wes Brown makes a clearance.0:00
The match gets underway.
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