Wolves’ voyage of rediscovery continued to gather pace after Nouha Dicko’s first-half goal and a second-half penalty save from Carl Ikeme had their manager Kenny Jackett eyeing a quick return to the Premier League.
Having plunged from the top flight to League One in successive seasons, the reverse journey looks on after a six-game unbeaten run which has lifted them into third place in the Championship.
Jackett is proving not just to be a safe pair of hands after the disastrous stays of Stale Solbakken and Dean Saunders but his arrival has re-energised the Molineux club which was in freefall when he took over at the start of last season.
He led Wolves back into the Championship at the first attempt and his expectations are sky high after eight games. “Our aim is to get back into the Premier League and it has been from day one, having been there so recently,” said the Wolves manager. “Wolves are genuinely a big club.
“We were on top in the first half but after missing an early chance in the second half, it was all Bolton and they probably deserved something.”
The home side withstood early Bolton pressure before imposing themselves with the kind of football which is becoming a trademark of Jackett’s second season in charge.
Dougie Freedman’s team defended determinedly if sometimes desperately, offering ample protection for goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, who was only stretched by a Danny Batth header.
However, the Bolton keeper was eventually beaten when Matt Doherty’s cross was deflected high towards the six yard box, where Dicko climbed above a hesitant Lonergan to nudge a header into the opposite corner of the net.
The loss of Dicko at half-time through injury deprived Wolves of a cutting edge and Bolton discovered a momentum which should have brought an equaliser. Batth’s clumsy tackle on substitute Jermaine Beckkford earned them a 57th-minute penalty, but Owen Garvan’s weak kick was pushed aside by Ikeme, who saved the midfielder’s follow-up shot.
Wolves failed to heed the wake-up call and Ikeme had to make an excellent save from Liam Feeney’s close-range effort as well as keeping out Beckford in the final minute.
Bolton boss Freedman admitted: “The game hinged on incidents in both boxes - their goal and our missed penalty. It was a poor penalty and I’m certain if that had gone in we would have gone on to win the game because we created so many chances after that.”
Wolves (4-3-3): Ikeme; Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Golbourne; McDonald, Evans, Edwards; Henry (Rowe 77), Dicko (Clarke 45), Sako.
Bolton (4-4-2): Lonergan; Ream, Mills, Dervite, Moxey; Chung-Yong, Garvan (M Davies 64), Spearing, Feeney; Mason (Danns 70), C Davies (Beckford 55).
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire).
Match rating: 6/10.