Some defeats hurt more than others.
And there was no disguising the pain of another away-day blank as the Clarets lost out to former manager Owen Coyle and, more importantly, rivals in distress.
While Bolton secured their first win under Coyle, Brian Laws was left waiting for his opening victory as the Scot's successor, thanks to a 35th-minute goal from Chung-Yong Lee.
That was enough to lift Bolton out of the bottom three and drag Burnley into the relegation zone instead as an 11-match winless streak finally took its toll.
The Clarets were not helped by early injuries to Chris McCann and Graham Alexander, but more worryingly looked, for the first time, short on confidence as they rarely threatened to equalise against a muscular side which knew what it took to eke out a priceless three points.
Laws will now endeavour to add new blood to his squad which looks in need of a lift to help them regain their early season sparkle - and win what has now become a fight for survival.
With Clarke Carlisle, Christian Kalvenes, Steven Fletcher and David Nugent all returning for the Clarets, Laws had been able to select a strong hand in pursuit of the win craved by the Burnley supporters.
But his plans were thrown into disarray within 15 minutes of the start as McCann and Alexander both went off to decimate the central midfield area.
The luckless McCann, starting only his second game in four months, was the victim of an accidental clash with Kalvenes.
Brian Laws talks his players through the re-shuffle
And with Alexander then injuring a calf, Laws was forced to deploy Kevin McDonald and Wade Elliott in the engine room with Martin Paterson also thrown on in a dramatically different line-up.
With so much at stake it was hardly the start Burnley wanted, even if Michael Duff had gone closest to an opening goal when he stabbed a shot wide after Alexander had delivered for the second time following a corner.
Looking to take advantage of Burnley's misfortune Bolton went close after 18 minutes when Fabrice Muamba broke clear but shot over and then again when former Clarets' loanee Gary Cahill headed a Matt Taylor corner just wide.
Backed by a superb following of almost 5,000 fans the Clarets gradually found their feet as Fletcher forced Jussi Jasskelainen to save, Chris Eagles slicing the rebound over the top, and Kalvenes whistled a low drive just past the post.
David Nugent is thwarted by Jussi Jaaskelainen
But Lee remained a threat for Bolton and after being denied by an excellent block from Brian Jensen, after Duff had left a defensive header short, the South Korean gave Bolton the lead ten minutes before the break.
Kevin Davies picked out another incisive pass and, having got behind the Clarets' defence, Lee fired home off the underside of the bar with the assistant referee rightly ruling that the ball had crossed the line.
For Burnley and their re-shuffled side attack looked the best form of defence and in stoppage time Eagles launched a typically surging run which ended with a goalbound shot bouncing wide of Zat Knight for the Clarets' fifth corner of a frustrating first half.
Martin Paterson tries to beat Matt Taylor
Scoring goals has not come easy in recent games, though, which meant the Clarets could ill afford to concede again and they were living on their nerves again seven minutes into the second period when Clarke Carlisle miscued a header for Johan Elmander to run onto.
Kalvenes came to the rescue with a timely tackle but even then the ball broke for Davies who curled his shot wide.
The Clarets' defence looked vulnerable every time Bolton slung the ball into the penalty area, which they did at every opportunity from a succession of long throws and corners.
But while there was only one goal in it the Clarets were still just about in the hunt and with 25 minutes to go Laws went for broke as he sent on new loan signing Frederic Nimani with the quest of finding Burnley's first away goal since the end of November.
The big Frenchman showed some decent touches but in truth the Clarets showed little threat against a side used to scrapping.
And only a superb finger-tip save from Jensen to thwart Ricardo Gardner prevented Bolton adding a second goal six minutes from the end of a bitterly disappointing night.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Duff, Kalvenes, Alexander (Paterson 16), McCann (McDonald 12), Eagles (Nimani 65), Nugent, Fletcher, Elliott. Substitutes: Edgar, Blake, Thompson, Penny.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Cahill, Muamba, Taylor (Gardner 77), Knight, K Davies, Steinsson, Klasnic (Elmander 52), Ricketts, Cohen, Lee (Weiss 90). Substitutes: Samuel, Robinson, A O'Brien, Habsi.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
David Nugent is shadowed by Sam Ricketts