Ghanaian striker Jeff Schlupp gave fresh hope to Leicester's play-off prospects when his third goal in six matches secured victory over the side threatening to cash in on their faltering form. It was a first win in 10 matches for Nigel Pearson's team.
The 20-year-old, who was preferred to the much more experienced but out-of-form David Nugent up front, struck with a volley from outside the box with 12 minutes left after Bolton, who arrived on a streak of eight wins in 10 matches, had recovered from a 2-1 half-time deficit in a game of fluctuating fortunes that began with Leicester going behind to a penalty conceded after 78 seconds.
Pearson, whose team have their fate in their hands in as much as they face fellow promotion contenders Crystal Palace, Watford and Nottingham Forest in their last three games, was relieved but felt his players had earned their change of luck.
“They deserved something from the games prior to this and they showed a lot of character to deal with a difficult situation after going behind,” he said.
The result means that Leicester climb back to sixth place in the table, displacing Bolton. In a further blow, Bolton lost striker David Ngog, who may miss the remainder of his side's play-off challenge if his shoulder injury turns out to be a dislocation.
Leicester surrendered two points through a last-minute penalty against Birmingham last Friday and their first meaningful act was to give away another as Wes Morgan brought down Lee Chung-yong.
Ngog converted the kick, although Kasper Schmeichel - who was to make important saves later - was a little unlucky not to keep it out.
Bolton were 20th in the Championship table, three months or so into Dougie Freedman's tenure and fearing consecutive relegations. The following week they won a Lancashire derby against Burnley and have been looking upwards ever since and Freedman remains in positive mood. “It was Leicester's night but I'm not worried about the result because we gave a good performance and we have momentum,” he said.
Leicester responded to the early setback with pace and energy, channelling much of their attacking through the recalled Lloyd Dyer on the left. Chris Wood tested Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan with a low drive after 25 minutes and drew an even better save soon afterwards to keep out a fiercely struck free-kick.
Leicester's pressure was rewarded with two goals in as many minutes. First Dyer's trickery in the box drew a foul from Danny Butterfield, Wood sending Bogdan the wrong way from the penalty spot. Then Wood ended a strong run with a deftly timed pass, setting up Dyer to blast the ball home left-footed off the underside of the bar.
Bolton levelled after making a tactical change, introducing Craig Davies alongside Ngog up front. Davies hit the woodwork and was then denied by a fine Schmeichel save before, a long throw by Sam Ricketts was diverted into the path of Darren Pratley, who beat the home keeper from close range.
Four times in their last six matches Leicester had squandered points after being in front but -with the help of another brilliant stop by Schmeichel to turn a Davies header over the bar - this time they had the final word.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky; Knockaert (Drinkwater, 81), King, James, Dyer (Nugent, 78); Wood, Schlupp (Whitbread, 90). Substitutes not used Logan (gk), Vardy, Gallagher, Kane.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-1-1): Bogdan; Butterfield (Ricketts, 59), Knight, Dawson, Alonso; Eagles, Kamara, Vela (C Davies, 56), Lee; Pratley; Ngog (Eaves, 87). Substitutes not used Lonergan (gk), Ream, Hall, Sordell.
Referee E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).