Hull missed the chance to close the gap on Championship leaders Cardiff as they were convincingly beaten by Bolton.
The Tigers saw their defence breached three times in the first eight minutes.
Darren Pratley headed in a cross from Lee Chung-yong before influential midfielder Mark Davies added a second.
Craig Dawson headed in from a corner and, although Robbie Brady's free-kick reduced the deficit, Dawson grabbed a second by flicking in as the Tigers slipped to third in the table.
Bolton had three players called Davies in their matchday squad - Mark scored their second goal, Craig came off the bench and Kevin was an unused substitute
Victory extends the Trotters' unbeaten run to four matches as they moved up to 14th in the table, while Hull dropped behind Watford on goal difference following the Hornets' 2-1 win over Derby.
Steve Bruce's City came into the game without conceding in their last two games, but now they are seven points behind Championship leaders Cardiff, who face Wolves on Sunday.
Bolton broke the deadlock in the second minute when Davies played in Lee and his cut-back was powerfully headed home by Pratley.
Davies then got on the scoresheet himself by unleashing a 18-yard shot that Tigers keeper David Stockdale got a hand to but could not keep out.
Hull were shellshocked and in the seventh minute Dawson's glancing header was adjudged to have gone over the line before Marvin Sordell made sure.
Sordell could have made it 4-0 but his shot came back off the post after he was played in by David Ngog.
Brady hit a free-kick over the bar before finding his range, although his set-piece sliced through the Bolton wall into the bottom corner.
And any hopes of a Hull comeback were dashed when the home side regained their three-goal advantage thanks to Dawson's flick into the bottom corner.
Bolton boss Dougie Freedman: "Craig Dawson has bought into what we are trying to do and he is a good guy. He has also brought a confidence to Zat Knight and Adam Bogdan.
"When the ball gets crossed into crucial areas one of those three are dealing with it. He has got the presence to demand certain standards of people around him and he is bringing the best out of Zat."
"It shows you what we are capable of and a result like this has been coming. It's been difficult for the players and the club since they suffered relegation. There has been a lot of expectation but I know how good they can be. It's just very pleasing to beat a good Hull team."
Hull manager Steve Bruce: "I've had better days. That start is something you see at school. How can you explain it? It's one of those freak things. I have never been involved in something like that and I don't think it will happen again for a long time.
"You have to erase it and say 'it happens'. Sometimes a kick up the backside doesn't do anyone any harm now and again. We have been rock solid for seven months.
"But you know it's not your day when you score to make it 3-1 with 20-odd minutes to go and they go down the other end and score again. Bolton have got some good players yet when I looked this morning they were four points above the relegation area. That shows you how difficult this league is."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The match has reached full-time.90:00 +2:46
Short corner taken by Robbie Brady.90:00 +1:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Davies by James Chester. Free kick taken by Marcos Alonso.90:00 +0:27
The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady.89:01
Robbie Brady takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Samuel Ricketts makes a clearance.87:33
George Boyd takes a shot. Save by Adam Bogdan.86:50 Substitution
Substitution David Wheater is brought on as a substitute for Mark Davies.83:42
Robbie Brady takes a shot. Save made by Adam Bogdan. Corner taken left-footed by Corry Evans.82:31 Substitution
Substitution David Meyler leaves the field to be replaced by Tom Cairney.81:35
Corner from the left by-line taken by Robbie Brady, clearance by Samuel Ricketts.77:19
Robbie Brady takes the direct free kick.77:19 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Marcos Alonso for unsporting behaviour.77:13
Marcos Alonso gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn.73:17
Direct free kick taken by David Stockdale.73:17 Substitution
Substitution Mohamed Medo replaces David Ngog.73:17
Craig Davies concedes a free kick for a foul on James Chester.69:42
The assist for the goal came from Jay Spearing.69:42 Goal scored
Goal! - Craig Dawson - Bolton 4 - 1 Hull City A goal is scored by Craig Dawson from the edge of the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Bolton 4-1 Hull.69:10
Corner taken right-footed by Jay Spearing, David Stockdale makes a clearance.68:21
Effort from 18 yards by Darren Pratley. Save made by David Stockdale.
Goal! - Robbie Brady - Bolton 3 - 1 Hull City Free kick scored by Robbie Brady from long range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Bolton 3-1 Hull.65:57
Jay Spearing challenges David Meyler unfairly and gives away a free kick.62:56
Robbie Brady takes the free kick.62:56 Booking
Booking Craig Dawson is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.62:18
Free kick awarded for a foul by Craig Dawson on Corry Evans.61:21
Foul by Corry Evans on Chung-Yong Lee, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Adam Bogdan.59:59 Substitution
Substitution Jay Simpson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mohamed Gedo.59:59 Substitution
Substitution (Hull) makes a substitution, with George Boyd coming on for Robert Koren.59:03
The official flags Craig Davies offside. Jack Hobbs restarts play with the free kick.57:19
Robbie Brady produces a cross. Inswinging corner taken by Robert Koren, clearance made by Marcos Alonso.56:20 Substitution
Substitution Craig Davies comes on in place of Marvin Sordell.54:56
Corry Evans concedes a free kick for a foul on David Ngog. Jay Spearing crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, save by David Stockdale.52:24
Robbie Brady produces a right-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.51:26
Adam Bogdan restarts play with the free kick.51:26 Booking
Booking David Meyler receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.51:24
Foul by David Meyler on Chung-Yong Lee, free kick awarded.49:39
Unfair challenge on Robert Koren by Marcos Alonso results in a free kick. Robbie Brady takes the free kick, Alex Bruce produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post. Free kick awarded for a foul by Jay Spearing on Robert Koren. Ahmed Elmohamady takes the free kick.48:08
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Meyler by Marcos Alonso. Robbie Brady fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.47:11
Jay Spearing challenges Robert Koren unfairly and gives away a free kick. Alex Bruce takes the direct free kick.45:30
Shot from 35 yards by Darren Pratley went wide of the left-hand post.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +3:28 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.43:43
Corry Evans has an effort at goal from a long way out that misses to the right of the target.43:04
Inswinging corner taken by Robert Koren, Adam Bogdan makes a save.34:40
The ball is delivered by Stephen Quinn.31:48
Robert Koren fouled by Marcos Alonso, the ref awards a free kick. Jack Hobbs takes the free kick.30:40
The ball is swung over by Ahmed Elmohamady.25:09
Corner taken by Robert Koren.24:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn by Darren Pratley. Direct free kick taken by Alex Bruce.23:14
Robbie Brady takes a corner.21:55
Jay Spearing takes the inswinging corner, Mohamed Gedo makes a clearance.19:07
Marvin Sordell has an effort at goal from just inside the box that bounces off the post.16:52
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Koren by Craig Dawson. Ahmed Elmohamady takes the free kick, Stephen Quinn takes a shot. Save by Adam Bogdan. Robbie Brady produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.10:17
David Meyler gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Ngog. Jay Spearing crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Stephen Quinn makes a clearance.7:26
The assist for the goal came from Jay Spearing.7:26 Goal scored
Goal! - Craig Dawson - Bolton 3 - 0 Hull City Craig Dawson finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Bolton 3-0 Hull.6:19
Jay Spearing takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, save by David Stockdale.4:39 Goal scored
Goal! - Mark Davies - Bolton 2 - 0 Hull City Mark Davies grabs a goal from just outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Bolton 2-0 Hull.1:10
Assist by Chung-Yong Lee.1:10 Goal scored
Goal! - Darren Pratley - Bolton 1 - 0 Hull City Darren Pratley finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Bolton 1-0 Hull.0:21
Marvin Sordell is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Robbie Brady restarts play with the free kick.0:00
The referee gets the match started.
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