BATTLING Derby County were undone late on at the Reebok Stadium last night as their first away match of the Championship season ended in defeat.
The Rams were scrapping their way towards what would have been an excellent point from their trip to Bolton Wanderers.
But late goals from Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles gave the Trotters a 2-0 victory, making up for their opening day derby defeat to hated rivals Burnley.
For Derby, it was again tough luck after they conceded late to draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
After Davies' header had given the hosts the lead, teenage sensation Mason Bennett was a coat of paint away from levelling when his low shot after a brilliant move hit the post.
If it had gone in, surely the Rams would have held on for a draw, but seconds later, Eagles finished coolly to make the game safe for Owen Coyle's men.
And Benik Afobe forced Frank Fielding, who had been outstanding in the second half, into another save to avoid a 3-0 defeat right at the death.
The defeat was harsh on Derby and manager Nigel Clough after a determined and promising performance in the face of repeated Bolton attacks, especially in the second half.
It could all have been so different if new signing Conor Sammon, on debut a day after signing for the Rams, had grabbed an early chance.
But, importantly for the future, he gave the side a focal point and physical presence up front, only getting substituted when he began to tire.
Derby showed two changes from Saturday's draw with Wednesday as they lined up in a Manchester City-like third kit.
Sammon started up front after his £1.2million move from Wigan, while James O'Connor came in at centre-half.
Jake Buxton dropped to the bench after failing to overcome a bout of illness, with Will Hughes also missing the starting line-up.
There was no place in the matchday 18 for Theo Robinson, fuelling talk of a move away from the club before the transfer deadline on August 31.
For Bolton, David N'Gog failed a fitness test but there was still plenty of Premier League experience, including former Ram Tyrone Mears.
Sammon had Derby's best chance of the first half after four minutes as a long clearance from O'Connor was dummied by Nathan Tyson and the new signing stole a march on Zat Knight, only to stumble as he shot, allowing the onrushing Adam Bogdan to block his low shot.
Gareth Roberts was caught napping a minute later by Chung-Yong Lee but the South Korean shot tamely from the edge of the box.
A minute later Marvin Sordell found Eagles in acres of space but the talented winger could only lash a shot into the side netting.
A long ranger from Jamie Ward was easily saved on 11 minutes before Bolton had a shout for a penalty two minutes later.
Mark Davies surged into the box and seemed to be felled by Craig Bryson, but referee Craig Pawson was not vaguely interested and awarded the corner.
Sordell had an excellent chance to open the scoring on 18 minutes but headed Eagles' cross over from eight yards under little pressure from the Rams back four.
Tyson almost grabbed a goal seconds after the break as Bolton defended chaotically, but his shot at an open goal was deflected behind. Richard Keogh had the corner, from Paul Coutts, in the net, but it was ruled out for a foul in the area.
On 53 minutes, Eagles cut in from the left onto his preferred right foot and drove one at goal from 20 yards. A deflection from John Brayford looked to have left Fielding struggling, but the keeper somehow got a hand to the ball to keep it out.
Fielding was again in action on 65 minutes and should have been given no chance by substitute Afobe, but the youngster's shot from 10 yards, in acres of space, was too close to the keeper.
Matt Mills then headed an Eagles free kick just over as Bolton began to turn the screw on the Rams and Eagles led a rapid break from the hosts, but watched as Fielding pushed his effort away.
However, there was nothing the Rams stopper could do as Davies opened the scoring with 15 minutes left.
Eagles' dangerous corner from the left was headed at goal by the big striker and Fielding did well to block it but was grounded as Davies reacted first to hammer the rebound in.
Derby turned to the teenage talent of Bennett in the search for an equaliser and the youngster almost did it with two minutes left.
He smashed the post with a shot from a tight angle after one of the best moves of the match, involving Hughes, Bryson and Brayford, tore Bolton open.