Manager Tony Mowbray hailed his team after a second-half fight-back earned battling Middlesbrough victory at the Riverside.
Boro trailed after Lee Chung-yong took advantage of a lucky deflection in the area to fire Bolton ahead three minutes before the break. He then missed a sitter that would have made it 2-0.
But after half-time, Boro stepped up a gear and deservedly grabbed a fourth successive league win as Scott McDonald scored twice.
The Australian striker pounced on a rebound to fire in a 67th-minute leveller before glancing home a header to claim victory five minutes from time.
“I was pleased at half-time despite the Bolton goal because of the application, the attitude and the chances we had created,” said Mowbray.
“I was even more pleased because the atmosphere in the dressing room at half-time was very positive. We all felt that if we could create and score the next goal then we could go on and win it and so it proved.”
Jimmy Phillips signed off as Bolton’s caretaker manager with his first defeat but insists new chief Dougie Freedman – watching from the Riverside stands – has inherited a good squad.
Boro dominated the early exchanges but Bolton were screaming for a penalty when Chris Eagles went sprawling after minimal contact from Andre Bikey’s tackle but, instead, the winger was booked for diving.
Bolton got the opener on 42 minutes as the ball ricocheted off Faris Haroun to the feet of unmarked Lee and he slotted home before missing a sitter soon after.
Boro levelled on 67 minutes, McDonald stabbing in the rebound after Miller’s shot was saved.
Then, after a string of chances had gone begging, McDonald got the winner.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby, Hines, Bikey, Friend, Haroun, Leadbitter, McEachran (Halliday 87), Reach (Ledesma 46), Miller, Emnes (McDonald 22). Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Smallwood, Bailey, Hoyte.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears (Ngog 87), Ricketts, Ream, Warnock, Eagles, Mark Davies (Pratley 77), Lee, Spearing, Petrov (Afobe 65), Kevin Davies. Unused substitutes: Lynch, Mills, Andrews, Riley.
Referee: G Sutton (Lincolnshire).
Man of the match: Scott McDonald.