Bolton came from behind to earn a Barclays Premier League relegation lifeline and dragged Aston Villa into the thick of the survival battle with victory over Alex McLeish's side.
Villa broke the deadlock through Stephen Warnock after 61 minutes but were rocked by two goals in two minutes from Martin Petrov, with a penalty, and David Ngog.
The Trotters climbed above Blackburn into 18th spot, three points behind Villa and with a match in hand.
Angry Villa fans called for McLeish to be sacked during the final stages of the game.
But the home side were made to pay for not cashing in on their first half dominance when veteran striker Emile Heskey was a constant threat.
Defeat means it is officially Villa's worst home season in their history with only four wins compared to six in 1994-95 and 2004-2005.
They have won only one of their last 13 league games and are in the middle of the fight to stay up along with the likes of QPR, Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton.
Bolton survived the first half onslaught, with defender Tim Ram impressing, and looked more of a threat after the break with Mark Davies influential in midfield.
Villa, with five academy products in their side, made a positive start and could have gone ahead inside the first minute after Marc Albrighton won a corner.
Charles N'Zogbia's centre picked out Chris Herd who headed inches over the bar.
Indecision in the Wanderers back four almost set up a chance for Heskey who half-volleyed over the bar at full stretch.
Former Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker made a timely tackle to halt a dangerous run from Albrighton into the Bolton box.
Bolton came more into the game and Nathan Baker blocked a shot from Chris Eagles after he exchanged passes with Ryo Miyaichi.
A flick from Heskey almost played in Andreas Weimann but Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan reacted quickly to clear from the edge of the box.
Heskey was looking impressive and forced Bogdan to save away to his left with a shot on the turn.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle and Villa coach Kevin MacDonald had to be kept apart by fourth official Craig Pawson after Miyaichi was bundled into touch by Villa full-back Eric Lichaj.