Wanderers started brightly as Stephen Duke-McKenna was played in down the left flank, before producing a ball across the area which David Lee's side were unable to capitalise on.
Following this, McKenna was nearly in on goal himself, but Joe Pritchard's ball over the top of Forest's defence just evaded the striker.
A one-two between Christofer David and Shakeel Jones-Griffiths followed, with the latter unfortunate not to get a better ball into the box.
Slightly against the run of play however, Forest scored the opening goal in the clash.
A clever set-piece routine from a corner found Alex Iacovitti at the back post for an easy tap-in.
Wanderers responded well, with Luca Connell testing Liam Bossin's handling in the Forest goal with a long range effort.
With two minutes to play in the first half though, Jack Earing equalised for the Whites with a terrific strike into the bottom left corner following some flowing passing play by Wanderers to ensure that the scores were level at the break.
The second half got underway with the scores all square, but within two minutes of the restart, the hosts were reduced to ten men following an incident in the penalty area, with Jordan Boon receiving his marching orders.
The resulting spot-kick meanwhile was dispatched by Forest's Brennan Johnson.
Despite the set-back, Wanderers rallied in search of a leveller and came close through David whose speculative effort from distance was inches away from the top left corner of the net.
Just four minutes later however, Bolton were level and in some style as the aforementioned David picked up the ball inside Forest territory and curled home a beautifully crafted long range strike into the net via the inside of the post.
The forward attempted to replicate his heroics shortly afterwards with a free-kick in a similar position, but his effort flew narrowly over the crossbar.
The visitors were very nearly gifted a route back into the clash with 21 minutes remaining, only for some last ditch defending from the Trotters to deny them what had seemed a certain equaliser.
Just a minute later though, Wanderers took the lead as a dangerous strike from Earing deflected into the path of Pritchard who dispatched the ball into the Forest goal from close range.
The Reds rallied inside the closing stages of the match in a bid to draw level with Johnson seeing a shot soar over the crossbar and a tirade of pressure, but David Lee's side stood firm and held out for all three points.
Wanderers XI: Turner, Johnson, Muscatt, Zouma, Boon, Earing, Connell, Jones-Griffiths, Pritchard (C), Duke-McKenna, David
Substitutes: Hartshorne, Aspinall, Brockbank, Darcy, Navarro