An interesting enough fifth-round tie settled nothing, with the possible exception of informing watching England manager Fabio Capello that the name of Tom Huddlestone can be added to the long list of potential members of his World Cup squad whom he cannot trust to take a penalty.
The Tottenham midfielder's poor kick was well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen after 70 minutes at the end of an intense 15-minute period of pressure from Harry Redknapp's side which had seen Jermain Defoe claim an equaliser on the hour, his fifth goal in four games in the FA Cup this season.
Huddlestone's errant attempt was particularly bitter for Spurs as he had only recently taken over the duties from Defoe, who was deposed as penalty-taker after a miss in an FA Cup meeting with Leeds, his sixth miss from his last 10 attempts.
"We've not been too lucky with penalties," said Tottenham assistant Joe Jordan whose team has now missed four of their last five spot-kicks. "When a penalty is saved, you've got to give credit to the goalkeeper but Tom hits them in training with power. Today, he tried to place it.
"Spurs have had a terrible season with penalties and it's not been like we have missed them when we have been winning a game 3-0 or 4-0. We drew 2-2 with Everton and missed a penalty, missed one in the cup, and there have been other occasions. So, we need a wee bit more practice, I think."
Bolton, too, could feel dissatisfied with the way events unfolded at the Reebok, and not least of all because a pathetic crowd of just over 13,000 included 5,000 visiting supporters and offered a painful indication of how much the supporters have become disenchanted not only with the FA Cup, but the team in general.
The home side dominated the opening half although, unfortunately for manager Owen Coyle, the majority of chances fell to Johan Elmander, the £10m leftover from the Gary Megson reign, who duly demonstrated how he has managed to score just seven goals in his 43-game league career.
The worst of his misses came with a wild hack at the ball after being played clean through by Ricardo Gardner after 15 minutes. Yet Elmander redeemed himself to a large extent with his role in the Bolton goal, an exchange of passes with Lee Chung-Yong after 34 minutes and a cross from the Swede which Kevin Davies controlled and swept home as Vedran Corluka watched on.
Bolton dominated early after the restart but Tottenham began to exert a grip on midfield, found space in the wide positions, and finally put Wanderers under pressure. In the 55th minute, Peter Crouch outjumped Jussi Jaaskelainen and headed against the crossbar before Paul Robinson intercepted a Wilson Palacios cross and hit his own bar, via his goalkeeper's boot.
On the hour, Spurs were deservedly level as Luka Modric fed Gareth Bale on the left and his simple square ball found Defoe, unmarked 12 yards out, whose equalising shot took a slight deflection off Sam Ricketts. Jaaskelainen spent the remainder of the game extremely busy, saving the penalty, awarded for handball by Ricketts, and impressively denying efforts from Niko Kranjcar and Defoe.
"I had a blast at them at full-time because we should have done enough to finish the game off," said Bolton manager Owen Coyle who now turns his attention to Wednesday's crucial league trip to Wigan. "Our performance was of a high standard and if we carry on playing like that we'll get a lot of good results.
"If we'd come in at half-time with a bigger lead no one would have felt it was unjust. It was a real cup tie. Neither of us wanted a replay, it's probably fair to say that, but we're still in the hat and we'll go down there and give it a go. But now we've got our cup finals coming up in the League."
Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Knight (A O'Brien, 62), Ricketts, Robinson; Lee (M Davies, 74), Gardner, Muamba, Taylor (Cohen, 88); K Davies, Elmander. Substitutes not used: Samuel, Riga, Holden, Al Habsi (gk).
Tottenham (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale; Bentley, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric (Kranjcar, 62); Defoe, Crouch. Substitutes not used: Pavlyuchenko, Gudjohnsen, Bassong, Rose, Alnwick (gk), Dervite.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Bolton Taylor, Knight; Tottenham Huddlestone, Palacios, Defoe.
Man of the match: Jaaskelainen.
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