Elmander's piece of magic gave Bolton a two-goal cushion
By Jamie Lillywhite
Bolton moved up to fifth in the Premier League after denying Wolves in an enthralling game at Molineux.
They took the lead after only 51 seconds when Richard Stearman headed into his own net from close range.
Sublime skill from Johan Elmander, who jinked past three defenders, made it two and Stuart Holden drilled a third.
Kevin Foley curled Wolves back into it and substitute Steven Fletcher headed in a corner, but despite several late chances they could not force a draw.
Watching England coach Fabio Capello may have chosen Molineux more for its proximity to Villa Park, where he had taken in the lunchtime kick-off, than the huge number of national team candidates on parade.
But he saw an absorbing encounter, even though the only goal by an English-qualified player saw Stearman find his own net.
Goals were expected as Wolves are the only top-flight team yet to record a clean sheet this term and Bolton have not had one since the opening day of the season.
Coyle relieved to hold on for win
Few, however, could have imagined the deadlock would be broken so quickly as Stearman headed in from eight yards under pressure from Matt Taylor in the first minute.
The goal inspired some open early exchanges, Sam Ricketts making a sliding intervention to keep out Stephen Hunt who was poised to strike for Wolves at the far post, while for Bolton Chung-Yong Lee's touch deserted him when a neat knock-down from England striker Kevin Davies found him well placed inside the area.
The home side adopted a route one approach when Marcus Hahnemann's long kick was flicked on by Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake wriggled clear of the commanding Zat Knight, but he tried to punch the ball into the net, only to see his effort rebound off a post and he was lucky to escape punishment from referee Peter Walton.
There was a marked lack of quality for large parts of the first half, although Wolves enjoyed a bright spell in the closing minutes.
Nenad Milijas had a long range free-kick pushed aside by Jussi Jaaskelainen, who also stood up bravely to deny Matt Jarvis and tipped a well-struck 25-yard effort from Milijas around the post.
The Serbian international was unfortunate once again shortly after the break when he dug the ball out from under hit feet and chipped Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area, but it clipped the top of the crossbar.
Having drawn their last four away games 1-1, Bolton must have feared something similar, or worse, particularly with Jarvis becoming increasingly dangerous on the left flank for Wolves.
But then came a moment of brilliance from Elmander, who collected a pass from the industrious Holden inside the box and somehow eluded the mass of players surrounding him before slotting calmly into the bottom corner.
Wolves were stunned and things soon got worse when Davies slid an astute pass through to Lee on the right flank and his cut back found Scottish-born American Holden who drilled a sweetly struck drive from 15 yards into the corner, his first Premier League strike.
Wolves lacked quality - McCarthy
The third Bolton goal prompted a sizeable exodus from the home contingent, but the drama was only just beginning.
Foley played a well-worked one-two with Jarvis before finding the top corner with a delightful strike and Fletcher headed in at the far post after the 10th corner of the afternoon for Wolves from Jarvis eluded everyone.
They had several chances to equalise, a cross flashing across the goalline just beyond Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher bursting into the area with no reward and Steven Mouyokolo heading a golden opportunity from inside the six-yard box wide, but however unjust, Wolves remained one place off the bottom.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:
"We shouldn't be having to fight our way back from three goals down, it's very rare you're going to come from 3-0 down in the Premier League.
"I'm always proud of the way the lads play, very rarely do I come off thinking we've lacked effort or desire but it's not enough.
"We've got to have quality in front of goal, make sure we score when we get opportunities, of which we had loads, and we can't give three goals away like we did.
"Performances have been good but you've got to get points."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle:
"I'm getting used to these nerve-jangling games, that's why we love being involved in the best league in the world because even at 3-0 you're never safe at this level.
"I thought Wolves showed tremendous spirit and quality and there's no doubt results will turn for them, but I can't ask any more from my players on a game-to-game basis.
"It would be much easier if you are getting clean sheets but you have to give credit to Wolves, they forced us back.
"If someone had offered me seven points against Tottenham, Everton and Wolves I'd have been trying to do a somersault to get them but we've two big home games coming up and we have to make sure we're good enough."
90:00+1:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on Gary Cahill. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the direct free kick.
89:39 Header from close in by Steven Mouyokolo misses to the right of the target.
89:04 Corner taken by Nenad Milijas from the right by-line, clearance made by Kevin Davies.
85:30 Matthew Jarvis decides to take a short corner.
81:59 Effort from deep inside the area by Ivan Klasnic misses to the right of the goal.
81:06 Gary Cahill restarts play with the free kick.
81:06 Substitution Matthew Taylor goes off and Martin Petrov comes on.
81:06 Chung-Yong Lee fouled by George Elokobi, the ref awards a free kick.
77:00 Matthew Jarvis provided the assist for the goal.
77:00 GOAL - Steven Fletcher:Wolverhampton 2 - 3 Bolton Steven Fletcher finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Wolverhampton 2-3 Bolton.
76:40 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis from the left by-line,
76:10 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Nenad Milijas, clearance by Zat Knight.
75:26 George Elokobi fouled by Ivan Klasnic, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Matthew Jarvis, Kevin
Davies manages to make a clearance.
73:45 Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the direct free kick.
73:45 Substitution Ivan Klasnic on for Johan Elmander.
73:45 The referee penalises Steven Fletcher for handball.
73:16 Matthew Taylor takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
72:08 Steven Mouyokolo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Davies. The free kick is delivered right-footed by
Samuel Ricketts from right channel.
70:55 Foul by Richard Stearman on Johan Elmander, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Stuart Holden.
68:26 Assist on the goal came from Matthew Jarvis.
68:26 GOAL - Kevin Foley:Wolverhampton 1 - 3 Bolton Kevin Foley grabs a goal from just inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 1-3 Bolton.
66:21 Assist on the goal came from Chung-Yong Lee.
66:21 GOAL - Stuart Holden:Wolverhampton 0 - 3 Bolton A goal is scored by Stuart Holden from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-3 Bolton.
65:29 Substitution Stephen Hunt leaves the field to be replaced by Steven Fletcher.
63:50 Fabrice Muamba has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
63:17 Kevin Doyle has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
62:48 The referee penalises Kevin Davies for handball. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
61:27 The assist for the goal came from Stuart Holden.
61:27 GOAL - Johan Elmander:Wolverhampton 0 - 2 Bolton Johan Elmander grabs a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-2 Bolton.
59:29 Foul by Fabrice Muamba on Karl Henry, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Nenad Milijas.
58:20 Handball by Kevin Doyle. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
56:15 Matthew Taylor produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.
53:34 Stuart Holden takes a shot. Save made by Marcus Hahnemann.
52:05 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Stephen Hunt from the right by-line, Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a save.
51:15 Matthew Jarvis takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Zat Knight makes a clearance.
Correction - 49:22 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Stuart Holden from the left by-line, George Elokobi manages to make a clearance.
49:22 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Stuart Holden, George Elokobi makes a clearance.
49:04 Shot from outside the area by Fabrice Muamba misses to the left of the target.
Correction - 49:04 Shot from outside the box by Fabrice Muamba misses to the left of the goal.
Correction - 46:58 Short corner worked by Matthew Jarvis, Nenad Milijas takes a shot.
46:58 Short corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, Nenad Milijas takes a shot.
46:34 Stephen Hunt takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Zat Knight makes a clearance.
45:29 The official flags Johan Elmander offside. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+4:06 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+3:40 Matthew Taylor takes a shot from long range which goes wide of the right-hand post.
45:00+1:27 Corner taken by Matthew Taylor, Gary Cahill produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand
Correction - 45:00+1:01 Matthew Jarvis takes a shot. Save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
45:00+1:01 Matthew Jarvis takes a shot. Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a save.
44:05 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Taylor from the right by-line played to the near post.
43:27 Matthew Jarvis takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Matthew Taylor.
43:15 Nenad Milijas takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Correction - 41:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Samuel Ricketts by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Unfair challenge on Nenad Milijas by Kevin Davies results in a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
41:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on Samuel Ricketts. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.
Kevin Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nenad Milijas. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
37:39 Nenad Milijas challenges Fabrice Muamba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Fabrice Muamba.
35:54 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Johan Elmander by Nenad Milijas. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from
34:25 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake produces a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
33:04 Fabrice Muamba gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Nenad Milijas fires a strike on goal
direct from the free kick, save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
32:07 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake concedes a free kick for a foul on Zat Knight. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
31:37 Kevin Davies takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
30:31 Fabrice Muamba gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nenad Milijas. Karl Henry restarts play with the free kick.
25:18 Samuel Ricketts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matthew Jarvis. Nenad Milijas restarts play with the free
24:19 Booking Stephen Hunt is booked.
23:57 Stephen Hunt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jussi Jaaskelainen. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
22:20 The assistant referee flags for offside against Kevin Doyle. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.
17:33 Zat Knight gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Direct free kick taken by Nenad Milijas.
15:30 Paul Robinson is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
14:09 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
13:09 Kevin Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on George Elokobi. Direct free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
12:31 The referee blows for offside against Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the indirect free kick.
10:05 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, clearance made by Paul Robinson.
8:51 Nenad Milijas challenges Kevin Davies unfairly and gives away a free kick. The ball is swung over by Matthew Taylor, Effort
on goal by Stuart Holden from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.
6:50 Free kick awarded for a foul by Samuel Ricketts on Stephen Hunt. Free kick taken by George Elokobi.
Correction - 3:40 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Matthew Jarvis, Nenad Milijas takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Cahill.
3:40 Corner from the left by-line taken by Matthew Jarvis, Nenad Milijas takes a shot.
3:10 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Matthew Jarvis, Kevin Davies manages to make a clearance.
1:54 Paul Robinson challenges Sylvan Ebanks-Blake unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by
0:45 Assist by Chung-Yong Lee.
0:45 GOAL - Richard Stearman:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Bolton Headed own goal by Richard Stearman. Wolverhampton 0-1 Bolton.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
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