What started as an uncomfortable night for Owen Coyle ended in quiet satisfaction as the Bolton Wanderers manager masterminded a victory at an emotionally-charged Reebok Stadium that increases his former club's troubles near the foot of the table.
Having been subjected to continuous chants of "Judas" by Burnley supporters still sore at the Scot's decision to quit Turf Moor two weeks ago, Coyle was able to celebrate his first three points in charge thanks to a first-half goal by Lee Chung-yong.
The South Korean's strike was enough for Bolton, who started the evening one point adrift of safety in the Premier League, to leapfrog Burnley in the table after their first clean sheet of the season.
While Bolton fans left the ground with renewed hope that the team can survive under Coyle, Burnley's faced up to a third defeat in as many games since Brian Laws took charge. At least Coyle was able to laugh off the abuse that was thrown in his direction. "I saw a banner about Judas," he said. "But if we're going to be biblical about it then maybe it should have been Moses because we led them [Burnley] from the wilderness to the Premier League.
"I understand why because they're disappointed that we left. There's no doubt about it - I've probably been more emotional tonight than I have ever been during my time in management. There was a huge significance on the game, but it's an absolutely fantastic three points."
Burnley's preparations were undone inside the opening 20 minutes as Laws was forced to make two substitutions, midfielders Chris McCann and Graham Alexander both limping off within three minutes of each other with knee and calf injuries respectively. That only served to encourage the hosts, Fabrice Muamba blazing over the bar after Kevin Davies had unlocked the Burnley defence.
Five minutes later Gary Cahill spurned a chance to score his eighth goal of the season following a corner by Matt Taylor before the Reebok erupted 10 minutes before half time.
Soon after Steven Fletcher and Christian Kalvenes had gone close for Burnley, Lee nudged Bolton into a deserved lead, lashing past the Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen after another superb defence-splitting pass by the impressive Davies. It cannoned off the underside of the crossbar but television replays provided proof that the ball had crossed the line – and also captured Coyle's muted celebrations in the dugout. It was enough to consign Burnley to their 11th away league defeat of the season.
"All our plans went out of the window with the two injuries in the first 15 minutes. It knocked the stuffing out of us," Laws said.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-1-1): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts; Lee (Weiss, 89), Cohen, Muamba, Taylor (Gardner, 77); K Davies; Klasnic (Elmander, 52). Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Samuel, Robinson, O'Brien.
Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Kalvenes; Elliott, Alexander (Paterson, 16), McCann (McDonald, 12), Eagles (Nimani-N'Galou, 65); Fletcher, Nugent. Substitutes not used: Penny (gk), Edgar, Blake, Thompson.
Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire)
Booked: Bolton Wanderers Cohen, Davies, Lee; Burnley Elliott, McDonald.
Man of the match: K Davies.
Attendance: 23,986.Reuse content