A goal from substitute Eoin Doyle with his first touch, four minutes from time gave North End the win on Gentry Day.
The home side had taken a first half lead through Liam Trotter, but a brave headed equaliser from Jordan Hugill - his first league goal for the Club - and a close range deflection from Doyle, from a driven effort from fellow substitute Marnick Vermijl gave the yellows a win in front of 4,500 boisterous travelling fans.
North End were down to 17 fit players with Paul Huntington ruled out through injury and Joe Garner suspended; Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill replacing them.
And it was almost the latter who opened the scoring just 15 seconds in as the No.25 rose to meet Adam Reach’s perfect left wing cross, powering a header that beat Paul Rachubka in the Trotters' goal, but it came off the top of the bar and behind for a goal kick.
That was North End’s best chance in the first half and the visitors grew into a slow burner of a game. On nine minutes they had a penalty shout, Madine going down under a challenge from Cunningham, but neither referee Paul Tierney or his assistant saw anything, with the Irishman winning the ball.
But the visitors went ahead at the half’s mid-point as Liam Trotter firing into the bottom right hand corner from 20 yards out after being given space at the edge of the ‘D’ as North End failed to close down the midfield man,
At the start of the second half there was no change in personnel for the yellows, but a change in formation to 4-3-3 and it almost paid immediate dividend less than 60 seconds in when Cunningham’s dinked ball into the penalty areas was almost perfect for an unmarked Paul Gallagher, but the ball was inches away from his outstretched leg.
However, they drew level 12 minutes into the second half with some bravery from Jordan Hugill. The ball went down the left hand side to Callum Robinson whose shot was blocked, falling to Adam Reach. The impressive on loan left winger hooked the ball over his shoulder and Hugill went in with Dean Moxey, taking a kick in the head for his efforts, but the ball coming off him and ricocheting onto Rachubka and into the bottom right hand corner – his first league goal for the club and almost raising the roof off the away end.
The referee was making some interesting decisions as at one end tackled Clough on the edge of the area and at the other end Gallagher danced his way through only to see his shot deflected wide, only for a goal kick to be awarded – neither side getting the decisions they claimed.
But with four minutes to go North End went ahead and ultimately won the game. Callum Robinson again raced down the left and side and crossed deep to the back post and substitute Marnick Vermijl, playing in an advance midfield role, blasted across goal from close range and Eoin Doyle deflected the ball past Rachubka with a clever touch, his first of the game.
Five minutes of added time was signaled and in the final one Doyle again had the ball in the net again, brilliantly finishing Vermijl's ball in from the right, but the flag went up for offside - which when watched again was not a correct decision, but the score remained 2-1 and the players, management and vocal travelling support celebrated a day remembering those that have passed in the last year together as one.
Bolton Wanderers line-up: Rachubka, Wilson (Dobbie, 88), Holding, Derik, Moxey, Davies, Trotter, Pratley (Silva, 70), Feeney, Madine, Clough (Wollery, 84). Subs not used: Campbell, Vela, Danns, Finney.
PNE line-up: Lindegaard, Woods, Reach, Clarke (c), Wright, Cunningham, Pearson, Gallagher (Welsh, 90), Johnson (Vermijl, 78), Hugill (Doyle, 84), Robinson. Subs not used: Kirkland, Kilkenny, Welsh, Smith.
Attendance: 18,423 (4,432 away fans)
Referee: Mr P Tierney