Two goals from Chris Burke, a solo effort from Michail Antonio and a Henri Lansbury penalty proved enough to ensure Freedman has now collected 10 points from his first four games in charge.
It was painful in more ways than one for Bolton boss Neil Lennon who saw Tim Ream and Andy Lonergan carried off with bad injuries and defender Matt Mills sent off two minutes into the second half, shortly after Adam Le Fondre’s penalty, in first-half injury time, had given them brief hope.
Forest have been slow starters this season – until this game not scoring a goal in the first 30 minutes of any fixture since mid-September – but they flew out of the blocks against Bolton. They would have been disappointed not to have had the game dead and buried by the interval.
It took only eight minutes for Burke to notch the first goal, with the winger taking full advantage of a slip from Filip Twardzik to force a fine save from Lonergan with a driven, angled shot from the right side of the box, before then reacting the quickest to drive the loose ball high into the roof of the net.
It was 2-0 when Forest’s other winger got in on the act, with Antonio collecting the ball from Gary Gardner before launching into a powerful, twisting run that saw him elude three Bolton players to angle into the box, where he beat Lonergan with a powerful, rising shot in the 17th minute.
Josh Vela went close with a long-range effort for Bolton, but Forest saw Antonio head over from a Lansbury cross and Lansbury then denied by a fine save from Lonergan, after Antonio had returned the favour with a fine cross of his own.
Mills made a goal-saving block to deny Ben Osborn but it was Bolton who struck next, after Danny Fox had dangled a leg at Zach Clough to concede a penalty. Le Fondre drove home from the spot to make it 2-1.
Bolton had already lost defender Ream to an injury in the first half and made a second change at half time, with Emile Heskey coming off the bench – but the veteran striker found himself playing in the centre of defence as Bolton were reduced to 10 men.
Mills, who was booked two minutes before half-time for a foul on Antonio, was booked for a second time for a foul on the same player, two minutes after the restart.
It got worse for Bolton, with Lonergan sustaining a nasty-looking injury while bringing down Dexter Blackstock in the area, and the game was stopped for six minutes before he was replaced by Ben Amos – his first job was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after Lansbury beat him from the spot in the 65th minute.
The substitute goalkeeper was repeating that act three minutes later, beaten by a low shot from Burke after Heskey had made a mess of clearing the ball on the edge of the box. Lansbury almost added a fifth with a curling free-kick during 10 minutes of injury time at the end of the game.