Despite creating some decent chances at Villa Park, Bolton drove back up the M6 with nothing to show for their endeavours – extending a poor run to just one win in 12.
Jack Grealish and James Chester scored the decisive strikes to give Dean Smith his second successive home win since leaving Brentford and taking over the hotseat from Steve Bruce.
For Parkinson, it was an all-too-familiar story. Having gone a goal down they worked their way back into the game and could have equalised through Erhun Oztrumer.
Chester also cleared Jack Hobbs’ effort off the line, while Craig Noone was inches away from turning in Andy Taylor’s cross at the far post.
After taking the lead on four minutes, Villa should have doubled their advantage when Jonathan Kodjia squared for Tammy Abraham, only for the England Under-21 striker to blaze over.
Orjan Nyland made a good stop from Craig Noone moments later but Villa made the game safer when Chester headed home Grealish’s free kick.
“We have had enough chances to get something from the game again,” Parkinson said. “We were disappointed to concede early. Was is concentration levels or a tremendous turn from Tammy Abraham? We were up against some excellent players.
“You can always do better and we’d spoken about being switched on from the start.
“For large parts of the first half and some of the second I thought we were excellent. We created numerous chances and everyone has seen we need to stick the ball in the back of the net to give us a lift.
“We can analyse the goals we conceded but, come on, we came to Villa Park and had enough chances to get at least a point.”
Parkinson made five changes to the team beaten by Hull City last weekend but disputed that they had a destabilising effect.
“We made changes but I don’t think they affected the fluency of the team,” he said. “I thought some of our play was excellent. We are passing the ball as well as we have since I have been here in this run.
“But it is about making your pressure count and everyone just needs a lift by sticking the ball in between the three white sticks. Attitude and application, I can’t fault it, because the lads gave everything.
“Villa have really got some talented players, we knew that, but we got ourselves into some great areas, the keeper made some good saves, and we were half a yard away on others. We are so close to getting a goal. But obviously we need to give ourselves a boost of confidence by someone scoring a goal.
“No-one is going to hand us three points, or a goal, there’s no magic wand to be waved. We need to stick together to improve.
“In the first half our final third play was a lot better, we were more incisive, but as the game wore on our crossing became a bit slack, maybe a bit fatigued.
Parkinson was also upset by the award of a free kick, which led to Villa’s second goal.
Joe Williams was penalised by referee Oliver Langford for a foul on John McGinn – but the decision left the Bolton boss fuming.
“Joe Williams won the ball cleanly, it’s an absolute joke from a referee… I have to be careful what I say about his performance because, my goodness,” he said.
“It was an outstanding tackle and how the ref has seen it as a foul I don’t know.
“We do have to defend the set play better. We knew Villa were strong on set pieces, they score goals and have fantastic delivery.
“But we need a bit of a lift from the ref by managing the game properly.”
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