STOKE CITY were stunned by another late, late show from Bolton Wanderers as their unbeaten run came to an eventful end at the Reebok Stadium.
Having conceded costly late goals in both Barclays Premier League meetings with Wanderers last season, Tony Pulis' side were sunk by an injury-time winner from Ivan Klasnic on this occasion when they seemed on course to claim a well-deserved point.
City had hit back shortly after the break when Rory Delap volleyed home his first goal for 21 months to cancel out a first half effort from Chung Yong Lee.
But it wasn't enough in the end as Bolton struck in injury-time as the Potters defence failed to deal with a long throw-in of all things and Klasnic pounced.
The Bolton substitute then turned from hero into villain by getting sent off for two bookable offences after he lashed out at Dean Whitehead and then caught Rory Delap as City pressed hard for a second equaliser in the dying minutes of the game.
City had good grounds for feeling aggrieved at the outcome after dominating long periods of possession, especially as they were denied a clearcut penalty in the first half when Zat Knight handled in the area when under pressure from Robert Huth.
Pulis was able to field an unchanged line-up once Sorensen had passed a fitness test on the hip injury which forced him to pull out of Denmark's Euro 2012 qualifiers, while Bolton were boosted by the availability of Kevin Davies who had shrugged off the ankle injury which he sustained while making his England debut against Montenegro.
The home side posed the first threat in the sixth minute when Stuart Holden burst down the left and found Johan Elmander with his cross. He tried a first time volley but couldn't get his angles right and the ball flew well wide of the target.
After Pennant had caused problems for the Bolton defence with a run down the right, City's first chance fell to Whitehead on the edge of the box.
A long throw-in from Delap was sliced clear by Zat Knight and Whitehead tried his luck with a first time shot that flew well over the bar.
The Potters were gaining the upper hand and a corner whipped over from the right hand side by Etherington was flicked on by Delap at the near post and flashed across the face of goal with Walters and Faye unable to get a decisive touch.
It came as a shock to City then that it was Bolton who went in front in the 22nd minute with a goal against the run of play from Lee.
Some indecisive work from the defence resulted in the ball breaking to the Bolton midfielder on the edge of the box and he unleashed a powerful drive which flew past Sorensen, despite the best efforts of Delap to close him down.
City's frustration grew even more moments later when they were awarded a free kick 20 yards out for a foul on Walters and Pennant saw his curling effort beat the stranded Jaaskelainen but rebound out off the top of the bar.
They then had strong appeals for penalty waved away by referee Walton when it seemed clear that Bolton's giant defender Knight had handled when under pressure from Huth as the pair challenged for a high ball in the box.
But the first half ended with Bolton pressing hard for a second goal and Sorensen pulled off a fine save to keep out Petrov's fierce drive.
From the resulting corner whipped in by the Bulgarian, Davies managed to escape his marker but planted his header wide of the target.
The second half was only a few minutes old when City got themselves back on level terms from a corner sent over by Etherington.
When Huth challenged for the cross, it broke for Delap at the far post and he volleyed home from close range in front of the City fans.
The Potters then strung together a slick move which opened up the Bolton defence and almost led to a second goal from Whitehead.
Jones and Walters linked up well before the latter slipped a pass into the path of Whitehead whose shot was smothered by Jaaskelainen.
Fuller was introduced in place of Pennant, a move which resulted in Walters moving out to the right hand side, but he was only on the pitch for a short while before falling awkwardly and damaging the shoulder he dislocated at Newcastle.
It meant that Gudjohnsen was introduced for the final twelve minutes on his return to the club where he began his time in English football.
The Icelandic international was heavily involved in a move that raised the Potters' hopes of snatching a winner in the closing stages.
He set Etherington free down the left and was then on the edge of the six yard box when the cross came over, but couldn't get a shot in on goal.
But there was a dramatic late twist in the game as Bolton snatched the winner in injury time following a mad goalmouth scramble.
The Potters had a let off when Sorensen fumbled a goalbound header and Collins somehow managed to scramble it away when a goal seemed on the cards.
But that was only a temporary let off as substitute Matthew Taylor launched a long throw-in which fell to Klasnic and he turned to fire home a close range shot.