For the second home game in succession, United were rather close to embarrassment against modest opposition. The defending champions regained pole position in the title race, courtesy of Chelsea's slip-up earlier in the day against Aston Villa.
Without Wayne Rooney, who was injured on international duty, Ferguson paired Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov in attack, and must have been reasonably pleased with the results.
Owen was involved when United took the lead in the fifth minute, but his headed response to Giggs's cross from the left was hardly in the Alan Shearer class and it needed Zat Knight's ill-judged intervention to turn the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Not long after, Valencia scored United`s second.
Bolton were markedly second best for the first 45 minutes, but still should have scored when Kevin Davies, unmarked, headed negligently wide from eight yards.
Bolton hit the gas in the second half had their reward with 15 minutes of normal time remaining, when Neville cleared straight to Kevin Davies, whose cross from the left was nodded in. Suddenly, it was all Bolton and their strong finish could so easily have extended an unbeaten run that stretched back five league games.