After an encouraging performance against Fulham, Bolton reinstated their former England striker Emile Heskey to the Starting XI, replacing Gary Madine. Blundering centre-back Prince Gouano was dropped to the bench and Dorian Dervite made his return to the side. He was accompanied on the bench by the returning Wellington Silva after the on-loan Arsenal man's lengthy injury spell.
The Rotherham side included former Wanderer Danny Ward after his move from Huddersfield Town. Former Blackburn Rovers and Olympiacos Striker Matt Derbyshire took his place on the Rotherham bench.
It was a big game for both sides and the high stakes took their toll on the pitch as a tight game made for dull viewing. Both teams did manage to muster chances as Zach Clough, subject of increasing transfer speculation, went close for Bolton with experienced Northern Ireland international Lee Camp saving after an assist from Emile Heskey.
Whilst it was tight half, Rotherham were perhaps the more dangerous and in a period of pressure, Lee Frecklington fired wide before Joe Newell forced a save from Wanderers goalkeeper Ben Amos.
Moments later, former Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot headed over from close range and Danny Ward tested Amos further with his dangerous left foot with the Bolton stopper proving equal to the effort from distance. This brought the first half to a close and Bolton headed into the break at 0-0.
At the game, Lion of Vienna Suites' Dan Murphy was not impressed ...
That was atrocious. The most soul sapping 45 minutes I've ever experienced.— Dan Murphy (@Murbroski) December 26, 2015
At this stage, he had no idea what was about to happen
The game was set up for the second half; and Bolton with Wellington still to enter the fray may have fancied their chances. They were wrong to.
Bolton had to make the early change of Gary Madine for the injured Emile Heskey. As for Rotherham United, the home side came out firing.
The Millers were on top from the off with Danny Ward testing the Wanderers back line yet again. The change in the home side was notable and it was not long before they profited from their endeavor as Grant Ward fired home after receiving the ball from the impressive Tony Andreu.
Neil Lennon responded shortly after as he introduced Wellington to the game in the place of Jay Spearing. In what would normally be seen as a positive substitution, this really handed the game to Rotherham with the space it afforded to their side and 10 minutes later, Danny Ward doubled their lead.
The metaphorical wheels fell off then for Bolton Wanderers as Joe Newell and Jonson Clarke-Harris added a third and fourth for the home side to inflict a painful heavy defeat to Neil Lennon and the 1,200 traveling Wanderers' fans.
Bolton need to dust themselves off quickly as they face Blackburn Rovers side fresh from their abandoned boxing day fixture in the lunchtime kick off on Monday.
It is quite easy to lose faith when things are going wrong but we are by no means dead and buried here and we need to keep strong and take every game as it comes.
Teams (Via BBCSport)
Rotherham United: Camp, Richardson, Rawson, Broadfoot, Mattock, G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington, Newell, Andreu, D Ward
Substitutes Collins, Ledesma, Green, Clarke-Harris, Collin, Thorpe, Derbyshire
Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Holding, Dervite, Wheater, Moxey, Spearing, Danns, Feeney, Clough, Pratley, Heskey
Substitutes: Rachubka, Gouano, Madine, Osede, Wellington Silva, Dobbie, TwardzikWanderers headed into the traditional Boxing Day fixture without an away win all season and off the pitch matters worsening by the day