Andy Johnson set Fulham on their way to victory with a poacher's goal
Fulham recorded a first league away win of the season as goals from Andy Johnson, Simon Davies and Diomansy Kamara crushed a disappointing Bolton.
Fulham took the lead following a bizarre defensive mix-up that allowed Andy Johnson to score.
Kevin Davies quickly equalised with his 50th goal for Bolton, but Simon Davies' second-half shot edged over the line to restore Fulham's lead.
Kamara sealed the win with a powerful, low strike from 10 yards late on.
The game began at a high tempo but both teams struggled to make much of their possession.
It took until the 12th minute for either goalkeeper to become involved in the game, and the match was nearly half an hour old before the first shot on target.
That came from Bolton striker Johan Elmander, whose low free-kick looked tame until it was inexplicably fumbled by Mark Schwarzer.
Gary Cahill had two attempts at sending the rebound home from close range, but somehow Fulham kept the ball out of the net until Gavin McCann eventually scythed a shot well wide.
Hodgson relieved at first away win
Fulham subsequently hauled themselves into the game, and Bobby Zamora came within inches of putting the visitors ahead as he flung a boot at a curling cross from the right, then saw a shot from 10 yards well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Zamora scored in Fulham's 2-1 victory the last time these sides met, in September - and then endured a five-month wait for his next league goal.
This time, it was Johnson who broke the deadlock, but the goal was a gift.
Andy O'Brien, racing back to defend a through ball, failed to communicate with his goalkeeper and took the ball around Jaaskelainen, allowing Johnson to slide it into the corner of an empty net.
We need to regain focus - Megson
However, Fulham's hopes of a first away win in this season's Premier League quickly suffered a setback, as Kevin Davies rammed an equaliser home following clever set-up play three minutes later.
Elmander had the awareness to let Mark Davies' pass roll through to the Bolton captain, who sent a fierce finish to the right of Schwarzer.
Elmander could have put Bolton ahead five minutes into the second half as the home side, buoyed by the equaliser, pressed on.
But Schwarzer got just enough on the Swede's angled strike to push the ball along the goal-line and away.
Instead it was Fulham who regained the lead as pandemonium broke out in the Bolton box.
Danny Murphy collected the ball from Johnson and hit the bar with his second attempt, allowing Simon Davies to collect the rebound and stab a shot at goal.
With Jaaskelainen helpless, defender Jlloyd Samuel threw a desperate leg in the way of Davies' effort, but it had narrowly crossed the line.
Bolton threw themselves forward in response and had the majority of possession, without engineering clear-cut chances.
Schwarzer did not look particularly convincing when called upon in the Fulham goal, but found himself rarely tested as his team held on.
And substitute Kamara made sure of Fulham's win with a low, left-footed strike after O'Brien's poor clearance had completed his miserable afternoon.
Bolton manager Gary Megson:
"We haven't played well throughout the game, but the goals Fulham scored, we were culpable in every one.
"We had opportunities to clear our lines and defend a lot better, and we didn't do that. We've gifted them three simple points.
"Everybody is culpable for a performance like that but the goals are individual errors.
"I think Fulham are a decent side - Johnson and Zamora linked up well, they caused us problems and we haven't handled them all day."
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"There's a sense of relief, and of pride. I thought we played very well today.
"We dealt with Bolton's long-ball game reasonably well and restricted their chances to an absolute minimum, and then our passing play created chances and we converted three of them.
"We conceded a goal in first-half injury time and that could have been a fatal blow to our confidence, but the players took it in their stride.
"You've got to earn the right to play your football but, when you do get the ball, there's no need for you necessarily to play the ball long. You can play it through the midfield and that's what we tried to do today."
Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel (Riga 74), Taylor, McCann, Mark Davies (Muamba 68), Gardner, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Puygrenier, Makukula, Shittu.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.