Sheffield Wednesday suffered a home defeat to in-form Bolton on Saturday, putting a dent in their play-off aspirations.
Hopes were high on the back of three successive wins but the Owls were stopped in their tracks by the revitalised Trotters, who were handed a dream start by Liam Feeney from the first attack of the game.
Darren Pratley extended the advantage before Chris Maguire hit back for Wednesday in an instant.
But that proved the end of the scoring and to make matters worse for the Owls, substitute Sam Hutchinson was sent off for two bookable offences.
The Trotters arrived at Hillsborough in resilient form under Neil Lennon and duly displayed their new-found confidence by taking the lead inside two minutes.
Bolton won possession in the Wednesday half and the ball landed at the feet of Feeney in space just inside the penalty area for the midfielder to place neatly across Keiren Westwood.
For Wednesday, it was a jolt from which they responded well, with Maguire sending a fierce volley goalwards that was fortunately deflected wide.
But just as the Owls were looking good for a route back into the game, Bolton doubled their lead on 25 minutes.
Pratley took a flick-on from Emile Heskey into his stride and advanced on goal before placing a composed drive into the back of the Kop net to give the hosts a mountain to climb.
They took their first steps just a minute later after Atdhe Nuhiu was chopped down from behind by Dorian Dervite in the area.
The referee pointed to the spot and Maguire stepped up to do the necessaries from 12 yards.
That gave Wednesday the impetus to go on and boss proceedings, whilst wary of the Bolton threat on the counter.
And almost right on the stroke of half time, Craig Davies had a clear sight on goal and the chance to restore the two-goal cushion but could only shoot tamely at Westwood.
It was a similar theme after the break, with the Owls dominating but Bolton created the first opening as Davies found himself in on goal and Westwood darted off his line to repel the danger.
Still the pattern continued as the visitors struggled to move the ball from their own half.
Nuhiu, Stevie May and Maguire all had half chances but for all their efforts, Wednesday could not break down the door.
And 15 minutes from time, they had Westwood to thank for three key saves at the other end to thwart Davies, Pratley and David Wheater.
Then on 81 minutes the Owls came close to salvaging an equaliser when the odds were on Lewis Baker to score from close range but Matt Mills somehow denied the loanee from Chelsea with a flailing leg.
And to compound a frustrating afternoon, Hutchinson saw red with six minutes to go for a second yellow card and the Owls had a May strike disallowed for offside after Nuhiu struck the crossbar - as did Dielna with almost the last kick of the game.
Owls: Westwood, Palmer, Loovens, Lees, Dielna, Maghoma (Helan 69), Lee (Hutchinson 69), Semedo (Baker 78), Maguire, Nuhiu, May
Bolton: Lonergan, Mills, Ream, Feeney, Dervite, Danns, Heskey, Pratley, Vela, Davies (Gudjohnssen 89), Wheater