The Rams were unfortunate not to come away from the Reebok Stadium with at least a point, as goals from Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles’ strike in extra-time separated the two sides.
Former England international Kevin Davies’ volley from 10-yards out flew into the top corner to open the scoring, before Eagles ghosted into the penalty area and fired low past Frank Fielding to secure a 2-0 victory.
Despite Mason Bennett’s best efforts with a shot on the turn that smashed against the post, Nigel Clough’s men left empty handed, although their hardworking display deserved more.
New signing Conor Sammon was handed his first start for the Rams just 24-hours after agreeing terms on a four-year deal with the Club.
And in the opening few minutes the Irish striker looked like he had been in the Rams’ side for months, as he teed up Craig Bryson, who could only stab an effort wide of goal, before having a chance of his own – all inside the opening four minutes.
The 25-year-old bustled past Matt Mills through on goal, however the Leicester City loanee did well to keep up with Sammon, and did just enough to put the Irishman off who fired straight at Adam Bogdan from close-range.
The Trotters responded with chances of their own as Chung-Yong Lee beat Gareth Roberts to a loose ball and fired at goal, but Frank Fielding was equal to it. Then former Manchester United midfielder smashed an effort into the side netting after a perfectly weighted pass from Marvin Sordell.
Chances flowed for both sides, but the best opportunity of the half came after 18 minutes when Eagles escaped down the left-hand side and picked out Sordell in the penalty area. The cross landed right on the head of the Team GB footballer, and although he was unchallenged, Sordell could only direct his effort over the crossbar.
In the final minute of the half, Paul Coutts and John Brayford linked up well on the right-hand side before the latter delivered a terrific ball across the face of goal, but unfortunately for the Rams, Ward could not quite extend enough to get a connection at the far post.
The second-half began like the first finished as the game flowed from end-to-end. With just two minutes of the half gone, Jeff Hendrick burst into the penalty area and shot low towards goal. The Irishman’s effort ricocheted off two players before falling to Tyson in the six-yard box; but the 30-year-old forward was thwarted by a terrific last ditch tackle from Mark Davies.
At the other end, Sordell’s near-post snap shot flew narrowly wide of goal, whilst Fielding had to react smartly to Eagles’ deflected effort from 20-yards.
Owen Coyles’ side came even closer to taking the lead shortly after hour mark when Kevin Davies lifted a deft cross into the penalty area to substitute Benik Afobe. The Arsenal loanee looked odds on to score as he opened up his body, took his time and smashed the ball towards goal, however Fielding stood strong and pulled off an excellent reflex save to keep the game goalless.
However, despite the Rams’ hard-work and determination to grind out a clean-sheet, Wanderers broke the deadlock with 14 minutes remaining. Kevin Davies saw his initial header palmed away by Fielding following Eagles’ cross, but the big target-man was allowed a second bite of the cherry and duly volleyed the loose ball into the top corner.
With two minutes remaining the Rams came within inches of an equaliser as substitute Bennett rattled the near post after a clever through ball from Will Hughes, however Coyle’s men made the game safe when Eagles dribbled into the penalty area and drilled an effort low past Fielding to secure the Lancashire outfit’s first League win of the season.
Derby County: Fielding (GK); Brayford, O’Conner, Keogh, Roberts; Coutts (Jacobs 84), Hendrick, Bryson, Ward; Tyson (Bennett 84), Sammon (Hughes 69).
Subs Not Used: Legzdins (GK), Gjokaj, Doyle, Buxton.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan (GK); Mears, Mills, Knight, Ricketts; Lee, M. Davies, Andrews, Eagles; Sordell (Afobe 60), K. Davies.
Subs Not Used: Longergan (GK), Alonso, Ream, Petrov, Wylde, Pratley.
Attendance: 17,050 (974 Visiting Supporters).