Kevin Davies scored Bolton's 300th Premiership goal to set them on their way to victory over Sunderland.
Davies scored two minutes into the second half
Black Cats keeper Kelvin Davis made a brilliant first-half save from Davies but could not stop the striker heading home a corner after the break.
Tommy Miller came close to an equaliser for Sunderland but Jussi Jaaskelainen made a good save.
Kevin Nolan doubled Bolton's lead late on, scoring a rebound after Davis had superbly saved a Gary Speed header.
The win maintains Bolton's surge for a European place, while Sunderland have lost both of their games since Kevin Ball took charge.
The home team, who have not lost at the Reebok Stadium since their first home match of the season, started at a good tempo and were soon creating openings.
Davies tried to pick out Ricardo Vaz Te, but Davis made a good claim.
Nolan shot wide after a tidy lay-off from Speed, while Steven Caldwell blocked a header from Davies as the home team looked for an opener.
Black Cats keeper Davis made a brilliant point-blank save from Bolton striker Davies after 26 minutes.
Nolan might have scored four minutes before half-time but his lame chip was easily saved.
Bolton's pressure finally told when Davies beat Danny Collins to the ball and headed home Stelios Giannakopoulos' corner for his fifth goal of the season.
Miller, back in the starting line-up, went close for the Black Cats but Speed should have increased Bolton's lead shortly afterwards.
The veteran midfielder came within inches of converting a teasing cross from Okocha, while Davies should have scored his second of the match but headed wide.
Bolton's dominance, though, was rewarded when Nolan finished with the outside of his right boot.
Davis had done brilliantly to prevent Speed converting Davies' cross but could not stop Nolan's strike.
Speed almost extended Bolton's lead with a late free-kick, but Davis made a finger-tip save.
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce:
"Kevin Nolan is a great example to the team and has a great attitude too.
"He will keep putting his name forward for England and we are still hopeful.
"Kevin is proving himself every week in the Premiership now. You never know what might happen."
Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball:
"It was frustrating because we defended well early on then came out for the second half and conceded a goal that could have been prevented.
"People in certain areas have to look at themselves because we did not do enough to stop it.
"Confidence is in short supply but by the same token that does not mean you cannot then roll your sleeves up."
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, N'Gotty, Ben Haim, Gardner (Pedersen 30), Vaz Te (Borgetti 65), Nolan, Okocha (Faye 87), Speed, Giannakopoulos, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Nakata.
Goals: Davies 47, Nolan 85.
Sunderland: Davis, Nosworthy, Caldwell, Collins, McCartney, Delap, Whitehead, Miller, Leadbitter (Breen 72), Smith (Daryl Murphy 57), Kyle (Brown 63).
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Bassila.
Booked: Kyle, Delap, Breen, Brown.
Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).