Black Cats secure vital away victory, as Owen Coyle begins to feel the heat at the Reebok Stadium following sides fifth defeat in six Premier League outings
Despite having the majority of possession and creating a host of chances in an otherwise scrappy encounter at the Reebok Stadium, the visitors looked to be taking just one point back to the north east.
But two goals in the final 12 minutes from Sessegnon and Arsenal loanee Bentdner gave the Black Cats a deserved victory.
Sunderland arrived at the Reebok on Saturday in desperate need of a win after a string of bad results left them with just six points from their opening eight matches.
The home side, meanwhile, were buoyed by last week’s derby victory over Wigan, and were hoping to secure back-to-back victories and claw their way out of the bottom three.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with neither side able to find a breakthrough in an encounter devoid of much entertainment.
Bolton were unable to take advantage of an early corner which flashed across goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's six yard box, with just the slightest of touches needed to convert and give Owen Coyle's men the lead.
David N'Gog then exploited space down the right-hand side before finding Darren Pratley, who was unable to test Mignolet from inside the area.
The game failed to find its rhythm, as neither side were able to maintain a grip on possession, with Sessegnon picking up a booking for a forceful challenge.
Stephane snatches it | Sessegnon opens the scoring as Sunderland secure away victory
The poor pattern of play continued for much of the second period, with the visitors unable to find a way through the Bolton rearguard while the home side struggled to create chances of their own.
Keiran Richardson looked to open the scoring early after the restart, but his attempts were twice thwarted, first by Dedryck Boyata and then by David Wheater.
The visitors began to dominate proceedings, with a number of corners maintaining pressure on the Bolton backline, but boss Coyle looked to make attacking changes, as Martin Petrov and Kevin Davies made way for Gael Kakuta and Ivan Klasnic mid-way through the second half.
Summer signing Connor Wickham looked to have opened his account for the Black Cats, when his cross come shot from the right-hand side grazed the crossbar.
Sunderland always looked the more likely to score, however, and were rewarded for their efforts in the 82nd minute, when Sessegnon turned home a Sebastien Larsson corner, the former PSG man showing great poaching ability to give the away side the lead.
Coyle’s men pressed for the equaliser but never looked likely to earn anything from the game, and when Sessegnon played in Bendtner in stoppage time, the points were sealed for Bruce’s side.
The result means last week's victory against Wigan was only a brief respite for Coyle, whose side have now picked up just three points from a possible 18, a fact reflected by the boos ringing around the Reebok at the full-time whistle.