Ferguson was dismissed for violent conduct after striking out at Michael Johansen, one of Bolton's Danish midfielders. The incident prompted chaotic scenes, with more than a dozen players jostling one another while the rival managers, Mark McGhee and Colin Todd, jabbed fingers at each other on the touchline.
Ferguson's colleagues clearly considered that Johansen, who fell as if struck by a flying mallet, was guilty of cynical play-acting. Todd disagreed. "Once a player raises his hands he's asking for trouble," he said afterwards. "And he definitely made contact."
McGhee, having studied the incident on video, appeared to have changed his mind. "I think the referee was right," he said, "though it was about the only thing he got right all night. Ferguson was fouled and tried to get away from the boy, but he lashed out at him in frustration."
Todd, understandably, was more interested in extolling his side's success in an absorbing clash of styles. Yet it had begun badly for Bolton, who fell behind after 12 minutes to Ferguson's second goal in successive games.
Steve Bull outwitted two defenders on the right before cutting the ball back towards the penalty spot. Ferguson, taking the ball with the outside of his left foot, scored with aplomb.
Wolves had lost the previous home game on the back of a thumping derby win at West Bromwich. That they now suffered a repeat performance was due as much to the excellence of Bolton's passing game as to their own, increasingly predictable efforts.
The warning signs - Mike Stowell's scrambled saves from McGinlay and Nathan Blake before half-time - went unheeded. Three minutes into the second half, Blake turned Dean Richards with embarrassing ease and powered into the penalty area before angling his pass into the path of his co- striker, who sidefooted home.
Bull wasted an easy chance to head Wolves back in front before Bolton made their growing advantage in possession pay four minutes from time. A cross by Per Frandsen reached McGinlay, unmarked, who turned to fire his fifth goal of the season.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-5-2): Stowell; Richards, Emblen (Corica, 88), Venus; Smith, Andy Thompson, Atkins, Ferguson, Froggatt; Roberts (Foley, 72), Bull. Substitute not used: Romano.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Branagan; McAnespie, Fairclough, Bergsson, Phillips; Johansen, Frandsen, Alan Thompson, Sellars; Blake, McGinlay. Substitutes not used: Taylor, Todd, Lee.
Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).Reuse content