Richie Wellens suffered a first defeat as Salford manager as his former striker Eoin Doyle set Bolton on the way to a 2-0 Sky Bet League Two win.
Doyle scored 23 goals in 23 games for Wellens when the pair helped Swindon into League One last season.
The Irish marksman, back after a four-match hamstring injury, showed those finishing skills again in Friday’s Greater Manchester derby as he netted Wanderers’ 24th-minute opener from skipper Antoni Sarcevic’s astute pass.
Bolton’s victory, which lifted Ian Evatt’s team five places up to 15th, was guaranteed when Jordan Turnbull volleyed Gethin Jones’ hopeful punt upfield past Vaclav Hladky midway through the second half.
Sarcevic might have made it 3-0 from Doyle’s assist but Wanderers finished comfortable winners of the first meeting between the clubs.
Bolton’s other hero was 38-year-old debut goalkeeper Matt Gilks, making his first appearance since playing for Fleetwood against Liverpool U21s in September 2019.
The former Scottish international, preferred to on-loan youngster Billy Crellin, tipped away Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 20-yard drive when his team led 1-0 and later kept out Ash Hunter’s low drive.