Billy Davies had to settle for a draw in his first game back as his Nottingham Forest side were held at home by Bolton.Andy Reid’s superb second half strike had given The Reds a deserved lead but substitute Craig Davies popped up to earn The Whites an unlikely point.
Wanderers full back Marcos Alonso was dismissed for a second bookable offence on 80 minutes but Forest couldn’t make their man advantage count in the closing stages.
Davies made three changes from the side which lost at Bristol City last weekend as Danny Collins, Dan Harding and Dexter Blackstock made way for Elliott Ward, Henri Lansbury and Simon Cox.
Shortly before kick-off, Davies addressed his supporters with a rousing recorded message on the big screens and he and his team emerged from the tunnel to a resounding reception.
And The Reds had the wind in their sails from the off and twice tested Adam Bogdan on four minutes.
First, Lansbury latched on to Gonzalo Jara’s through ball and stung the Hungarian’s hands with a low effort from the right before Radi Majewski picked up the scraps in the area to draw a similar save at his other post.
Nine minutes later Lansbury scuffed his shot wide from 22 yards after benefiting from a Billy Sharp knock-down.
Forest were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and on 20 minutes a neat passing move resulted in Andy Reid - who was occupying a more advanced position at the top of the diamond - firing straight at Bogdan on 20 minutes.
Four minutes later, Lansbury did brilliantly to maintain his balance after winning possession down the right before handing possession to Reid. The Irishman’s tremendous strike from just outside of the area caused problems for Bogdan who will have breathed a sigh of relief as the ball slipped from his grasp and out for a corner rather than into his own net.
Perhaps keen to make amends for that momentary shakiness, Bogdan got a commanding punch on Reid’s devilish delivery a minute later - wiping out Sharp in the process. The striker received treatment but soon returned to the action.
The Reds continued to dominate and Radi Majewski saw two efforts blocked from the edge of the area on 33 minutes.
Cox then raced into the left side of the box but Bogdan proved Forest’s nemesis once again as he dived to his right to save the striker’s effort.
All that had been missing for Forest in the first half was a goal - and Bolton, who had failed to create a single meaningful chance in the opening period, could have capitalised straight after the break.
Chung-Yong Lee crossed low for Mark Davies whose first touch earned him enough time and space in the area to direct a half volley at goal. He didn’t strike it cleanly, however, and it went over.
Forest’s response was immediate and came in the form of a Reid free-kick. Majewski had been tripped by Spearing and Bogdan had to stretch to hold on to Reid’s effort from 25 yards.
And The Reds fully reasserted their dominance when Lansbury’s brilliant twist and turn in the area got him into a shooting position. His shot was deflected over and from the resultant half-cleared corner, Majewski watched the ball drop onto his foot before firing straight at the ‘keeper.
But Bogdan was finally beaten on 59 minutes - and it was a goal worthy of breaking any deadlock.
Reid linked up brilliantly with Lansbury before firing home a sweetly-struck volley from inside the area.
But it could have been 1-1 five minutes later. Chris Cohen held onto the ball for too long inside his own half and was forced to turn back towards his own goal. His backward pass was way underhit and Kevin Davies raced through one-on-one with Darlow, who did brilliantly to prevent the experienced target man from rounding him.
The young ‘keeper was tested again soon afterwards when Craig Davies latched on to Chris Eagles’ through ball to send a shot across the face of goal - Darlow held easily.
Dexter Blackstock replaced Billy Sharp on 68 minutes.
Moments later, Henri Lansbury was tripped right on the edge of the area after a purposeful run from Cox. Alonso went into the book but Reid couldn’t beat the wall with his precise effort.
A 24,409-strong crowd were then treated to a moment of Adlene Guedioura magic as he chipped Majewski’s ball up for himself before volleying straight at Bogdan.
The visitors had an equaliser on 77 minutes, however. Spearing released David Ngog, on for Kevin Davies, into the right-hand channel. His low cross was met with composure by fellow substitute Craig Davies who guided the ball first time beyond Darlow.
Forest were not to be deterred and Reid got to the byline two minutes later. Lansbury met his low cross but his effort was held by Bogdan.
Lewis McGugan then replaced Lansbury before Bolton found themselves down to ten men as Alonso picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Reid.
Cox was then replaced by Henderson and the big striker was immediately involved, flashing his free header wide from Cohen’s cross.
With a minute of normal time remaining, Jara pulled it back for Guedioura but the Algerian’s shot went harmlessly over from the edge of the area.
In the first of five additional minutes, Majewski saw his volley fly over as tensions mounted at The City Ground - and there was to be no release as the visitors held on to restrict The Reds to a point.
Forest: Darlow, Jara Reyes, Halford, Ward, Cohen(c), Lansbury (McGugan 81'), Guedioura, Majewski, Reid, Cox (Henderson 84'), Sharp (Blackstock 68')
Subs not used: Al Rashidi, Collins, Moussi, Greening
Scorer: Reid 59'
Booking: Halford 57'
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Spearing, Pratley, Mark Davies, Yong-Lee (Craig Davies 65'), De Ridder (Eagles 58'), Kevin Davies(c) (Ngog 73')
Scorer: Craig Davies 77'
Bookings: Mears 39', Mark Davies 50', Alonso 71', Craig Davies 90'
Sent off: Alonso 80'
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 24,409 (Away: 1,514)