A solitary Luke Varney goal after just six minutes proved enough to give the Whites all three points and their clean sheet lifted them up to sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship.
Leeds were looking to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the season in their previous league game and they made the perfect start when Varney glanced a header into the net from Luke Murphy’s corner.
United remained largely in control in the first half and could have added to their lead as Ross McCormack went close and Noel Hunt and Varney both failed to hit the target with great chances.
Wanderers were more in the game after the break and threw on Leeds crowd favourite Jermaine Beckford from the bench, but they struggled to create clear cut openings until the closing stages.
It was United who had the best chance to score again as Varney could not beat keeper Adam Bogdan from close range.
The visitors did survive a big penalty shout after substitute Robert Hall went to ground under a challenge form Stephen Warnock and they had to defend stoutly late on.
David Ngog missed a chance to snatch a draw for the hosts when his shot on the turn flashed just wide and Leeds keeper Paddy Kenny was forced into his one serious save of the afternoon when he denied Darren Pratley. But United held on and manager McDermott thought they were good value for the win.
It was the first time they have scored first in a league game this season while for Bolton it was their fourth successive Championship defeat.
Bolton Wanderers 0
Leeds United 1
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Sky Bet Championship
Bolton: Bogdan, Baptiste, Knight (Beckford 61), Mills, Tierney (Medo 85), Ream, Spearing, Pratley, Eagles (Hall 67), Chung-Yong, Ngog.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier (Lees 53), Pearce, Wootton, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Tonge, McCormack, Varney, Hunt.
Referee: Andy D’Urso