Tottenham looked to have earned a point when they clawed back a two-goal deficit, but Bolton had enough in the tank - just - to find a winning goal at the Reebok.
Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Sebastien Puygrenier headed the Trotters in front shortly after the half-hour mark, and Kevin Davies added a second after the break. But Spurs substitute Darren Bent came off the bench to score a brace that had Bolton contemplate a repeat of their midweek nightmare against Blackburn. However, Kevin Davies headed a late winner to the huge relief of manager Gary Megson - and the Bolton fans.
Megson had made two changes after the Blackburn draw, as the Trotters sought their irst win in six. Mark Davies and Ricardo Gardner came in to replace new long-serving midfielder Kevin Nolan, who has joined Newcastle United, and Chris Basham, respectively. Wilson Palacios made his debut for Tottenham, in place of the injured Jermain Defoe, as Harry Redknapp went for a 4-5-1 formation, Luka Modric supporting lone striker Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Spurs went close early on when David Bentley fired in a low shot from 25 yards and Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen pushed the awkwardly bouncing ball round the post. At the other end, Kevin Davies headed over from Matt Taylor's free-kick.
Then Mark Davies, on his full debut, had a free header from a Gretar Steinsson cross but directed it well wide.
However, debutant Davies made amends on 31 minutes when his whipped-in freekick caused the hesitant Tottenham defence to give Sebastien Puygrenier time and space to rise and head the ball home.
With Bolton looking comfortable, they doubled their advantage on 64 minute, Gary Cahill flicking on a long ball and Kevin Davies taking a crucial touch before firing powerfully past Carlo Cudicini into the far corner for his second goal in two games.
At that stage there was no hint of the drama to come; but Bent, who'd replaced Modric at half-time, set Bolton nerves jangling in the 73rd minute by pulling a goal back. Pascal Chimbonda, making his second debut for Spurs, was the architect, cutting the ball back to Bent who swept the ball in from close range.
Within two minutes, another Bolton lead had evaporated - and Bent was their tormentor again. New boy Palacios supplied the assist as Bent grabbed his and Tottenham's second with a shot from inside the area low into the middle of the goal.
But there was to be a twist in the tale this time, Matt Taylor swinging over an 87th minute corner for Kevin Davies to get ahead of his defensive marker and head the ball into the net past David Bentley on the line.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Puygrenier, Samuel, Taylor, Mark Davies, Muamba, Gardner, Kevin Davies, Makukula. Subs: Al Habsi, Smolarek, Riga, Shittu, Basham, Andrew O'Brien, Obadeyi.
Tottenham: Cudicini, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Zokora, Palacios, Lennon, Modric, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Alnwick, Bale, Huddlestone, Jenas, Bent, Campbell, Chimbonda.