Stelios Giannakopolous struck in stoppage time to earn Bolton a last-gasp win over bottom club Derby.
Stelios celebrates his last-minute winner at the Reebok Stadium
The Greece international fastened on to a long ball from the back, lifted the ball past Lewis Price and nodded home.
Derby still had a chance to level - Jussi Jaaskelainen saving Kenny Miller's shot with seconds to spare.
Michael Johnson had earlier hit the bar for Derby from 25 yards, while Bolton's Nicolas Anelka had a shot tipped on to the woodwork from a similar distance.
The dramatic late finish was harsh on Derby who deserved something from the game - but their survival hopes now lie in tatters.
The Rams are still 10 points adrift of safety with just 17 games left and must surely now start planning for an immediate return to the Championship.
They must have felt confident about earning something from the game, returning to the venue of their last top flight away win - a 3-1 victory in March 2002, courtesy of goals from Malcolm Christie, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Danny Higginbotham.
They had the first real chance when Craig Fagan turned Abdoulaye Meite on halfway and raced through, Jaaskelainen rushing from his line to block the shot.
Meite soon after nodded an El Hadji Diouf corner wide and it was another 30 minutes until the next chance came as both teams cancelled each other out.
it was set up by Anelka, who may well have been playing his last game for the club after he told a French newspaper Chelsea had started talks over his signature.
Anelka could be off to Chelsea in the January transfer window
The 28-year-old found space down the right and crossed for Kevin Nolan to volley over from 20 yards, before Derby three times went close to an opener.
First Fagan rose unchallenged from an Eddie Lewis corner to force a stunning tip over from Jaaskelainen, before Johnson curled brilliantly on to the crossbar from 25 yards.
With Bolton pinned back, Lewis crossed from the right and Fagan flashed another header into the side-netting with Jaaskelainen beaten.
Bolton boss Gary Megson was clearly unhappy and he hauled off Kevin Davies at the interval, sending on Christian Wilhelmsson in his place.
The Swede soon showed his electric pace with two sizzling runs down the left as Bolton began to force the visitors back.
Meite had a header from a corner cleared away by Giles Barnes, before Guthrie blazed a terrific chance over from 10 yards following Tyrone Mears' half-clearance.
After Diouf had a goal rightly ruled out for offside, Anelka went perilously close, his 25-yard rocket shot tipped on to the bar by Price in the Derby goal.
Bolton must have thought it was not to be their night when Nolan astonishingly put Anelka's cross over from two yards, but the flag had been raised again and it would not have counted.
They left it late to get their winner, but it came a minute into stoppages, Stelios clipping Jaaskelainen's long punt forward over the advancing Price and heading into an empty net.
Bolton manager Gary Megson:
"We didn't pass it, we didn't support the ball, I cannot say that we fully justified the victory.
"It's a great reward for us playing as badly as we did. We didn't do enough to suggest we could win but we kept going.
"If I was the Derby manager, I'd be saying that was a bit unjust. But we're told they even themselves out."
Derby boss Paul Jewell on transfer targets:
"We need some players now and hopefully we'll be able to get four or five this month. This is a good club and if we get it right we'll do well.
"We've now lost Jay McEveley to a nasty tackle, it's a bad one he got there and somehow we just keep losing players.
"We've got Laurent Robert coming in on Friday for a trial, we'll see what he can offer us over a couple of days."
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien, Meite, Andrew O'Brien, Gardner, Davies (Wilhelmsson 46), Nolan (Giannakopoulos 82), Campo, Guthrie, Diouf, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Samuel, Michalik.
Booked: Davies, Andrew O'Brien.
Goals: Giannakopoulos 90.
Derby: Price, Mears, Moore, Davis, McEveley (Johnson 21), Teale (Macken 65), Fagan (Feilhaber 85), Oakley, Barnes, Lewis, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Holmes.
Booked: Fagan, Mears, Feilhaber.
Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Bolton's Stelios on 7.00 (on 90 minutes).
Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.