Derby County's fading chance of securing automatic promotion suffered another setback as they were limited to a point by a well-drilled Bolton side after failing to turn their dominance of possession into goals.
Steve McClaren's side have scored only three goals in their last six matches and while they remain third in the Championship table and solidly on course for a play-off place the gap between themselves and Burnley, who have a game in hand, is a yawning seven points.
Having played as if their promotion challenge was beginning to catch up with them in a poor defeat at home to Millwall last Saturday, Derby must have wondered if it was a good moment to come up against a resurgent Bolton side who had thrashed Leeds 5-1 at Elland Road to chalk up a third straight win.
Yet it took Dougie Freedman's side until the 31st minute to muster a single shot, although as it happened Andre Moritz's stinging drive, punched away by Lee Grant, was better than anything Derby had achieved despite dominating possession.
The lack of an end product for the home side was the result of some solidly resolute work by a Bolton defence that for the first time included Alan Hutton at right-back following his arrival on loan from Aston Villa.
After Moritz's effort, Derby responded with their best attempt of the opening half, a left-foot shot from wide on the right by Jamie Ward that fizzed past the far post. They went close again in first-half stoppage time when right-back Andre Wisdom, whose only senior goal so far came on his Liverpool debut in the Europa League, dragged a shot narrowly wide.
Derby had been frustrated by a heavily defensive performance by Ian Holloway's Millwall side and had to contend with some groans from their own supporters again tonight as the match reached the three-quarter point with still no goals.
There was half a chance when a shot from Jake Buxton squirmed away from Adam Bogdan before being cleared to safety. Bolton, meanwhile, were at least prepared to be a little more adventurous, creating openings for Lukas Jutkiewicz and substitute Lee Chung-yong. Neither went close to scoring, although Neil Danns did with a nicely hit strike that required Grant to move sharply to save.
McClaren's response was to send on Patrick Bamford and Conor Sammon, both forwards, in search of a late breakthrough.
Derby County (4-1-4-1): Grant; Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Eustace (Bamford, 71); Ward (Sammon, 78), Hendrick, Bryson, Dawkins (Russell, 82); Martin. Substitutes not used Legzdins (gk), Naylor, Whitbread, Thorne.
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-1-2): Bogdan; Hutton, Knight, Ream, Baptiste; Kamara, Spearing, M Davies (Lee, 63); Danns; Moritz (Trotter, 52), Jutkiewicz (Wheater, 88). Substitutes not used Lee-Barnett (gk), Hall, Vela, Mason.
Referee G Scott (Oxfordshire).