George Boateng grabbed an equaliser in injury-time to earn Middlesbrough a point against Bolton.
Boateng scored after substitute keeper Kevin Poole's blocked save from a Ray Parlour shot fell into his path.
Poole was on after Jussi Jaaskelainen was sent off for a professional foul on striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Henrik Pedersen had given Bolton the lead when he poked home from close range after Bruno N'Gotty headed down El Hadji Diouf's corner.
Boro had gone two goals up within seven minutes when they beat Bolton in the League Cup final last season but there was a distinct lack of goalmouth action during an uninspiring first half this time around.
Both sides lacked the imagination to break down the solid defences of their rivals and only a Ray Parlour cut back threatened any semblance of a threat on goal.
But, in typical fashion of the game, the threat was thwarted with Gary Speed intercepting the cross.
The emotions of Bolton winger El-Hadji Diouf did threaten to boil over when he was involved in a confrontation with Ray Parlour.
Pedersen slings out a leg for Bolton's opener
Diouf was angry at Parlour accusing him of diving and he later became a target of the home crowd who were unhappy with some of his antics.
Mark Viduka's arrival for the second half almost paid instant dividends for Boro only for the striker to see a header rattle the woodwork.
Another Viduka header at the near post went into the side-netting before Diouf gained some kind of revenge by setting up Bolton's opener.
Diouf curled in the corner kick from which Pedersen scored as Bolton challenged for a win which would have sent them third.
Boro almost responded immediately but were again foiled by the woodwork with Hasselbaink's powerful free-kick hitting the crossbar.
Hasselbaink was through on goal after a long goalkick but was felled by Jaaskelainen.
Jaaskelainen was sent off late on for a professional foul and Boro had to be content with free-kick as the referee ruled the offence took place on the edge of the area.
But Boro got their equaliser during a frantic finish with Boateng rescuing them a point.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, McMahon (Morrison 81), Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue, Parlour, Boateng, Zenden, Downing, Hasselbaink, Job (Viduka 45).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Doriva, Cooper.
Goals: Boateng 90.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt (Ben Haim 54), N'Gotty, Hierro, Gardner, Giannakopoulos (Pedersen 62), Speed, Nolan, Diouf (Poole 88), Davies, Jaidi. Subs Not Used: Cesar, Ferdinand.
Sent Off: Jaaskelainen (86).
Booked: Hunt, Davies, Diouf.
Goals: Pedersen 72.
Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire).