Luke Moore scored a brilliant late volleyed equaliser for Aston Villa - but the draw proved to be enough to seal a Uefa Cup spot for Bolton.
Moore showed great tenchique with his volleyed equaliser
With Reading and Portsmouth failing to win, Bolton finished seventh in the table to claim the final Uefa Cup spot.
Former boss Sam Allardyce watched from the stands as Gary Speed put Bolton ahead from eight yards.
Craig Gardner equalised with a volley after a long ball forward before Kevin Davies struck with a left-foot shot.
But Villa were not to be denied and Moore's hooked strike was worthy of any occasion.
The match was Sammy Lee's second in charge after he succeeded Allardyce - and following the defeat at West Ham last week he ends the season still waiting for a first win.
Villa, who finish their first season under Martin O'Neill in 11th place, made the early running.
John Carew hooked the ball inches wide of the near post from a corner and then missed the target with a header when completely unmarked.
Bolton eventually threatened and Gareth Barry made a brilliant challenge to deny Kevin Nolan as the skipper prepared to shoot.
Aaron Hughes might have cost his team a penalty after making contact with Nicolas Anelka as he tried to make a covering tackle, but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.
However, Speed's well-taken goal did give Bolton the lead after the player-coach had been picked out in space Anelka.
But Gardner's sensational strike drew Villa level after 37 minutes.
Sorensen's long punt up field was flicked on by Carew and sweetly struck by the 20-year-old as the ball dropped out of the sky.
Villa came out after the break and dominated territorially - with Carew heading a cross from Ashley Young wide.
And it was against the run of play when Davies struck his eighth Premiership goal of the season after Villa failed to clear a long ball into their penalty box.
Davies made space, wrong-footing Hughes, before shooting home from eight yards.
Nolan might have sealed the win but could not keep his effort on target after Ricardo Gardner's skewed shot came towards him at pace.
And Bolton's failure to close out the game was punished when Moore equalised after 81 minutes with his clinical strike from Young's cross.
Bolton manager Sammy Lee:
"We knew it would be difficult as Villa have won their last three away games.
"I have said on many occasions that credit must go to the players. They have remained focused on the job.
"They way they've adapted to the circumstances has been fantastic."
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"I am absolutely delighted with the performance. We have been playing like that for some weeks. We scored two fantastic goals.
"Overall I am very pleased with the team considering I had just two weeks to work with them before the season kicked off.
"Recently we have been playing with a lot of panache. We're improving and if we continue to do so it augurs well."
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Ben Haim, Meite, Michalik, Gardner, Nolan, Faye, Campo, Speed (Vaz Te 55), Davies, Anelka (Tal 46).
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Teymourian, Sinclair.
Booked: Ben Haim, Faye.
Goals: Speed 32, Davies 58.
Aston Villa: Sorensen (Taylor 46), Hughes, Mellberg, Laursen, Bouma (Davis 77), Agbonlahor, Gardner, Barry, Berger (Moore 74), Carew, Young.
Subs Not Used: McCann, Cahill.
Goals: Gardner 37, Moore 81.
Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).