Bolton slipped to the bottom of the Premier League on the last day of 2011 despite picking up a first home draw of the season against Wolves.
In an encouraging display, Sam Ricketts scored a superb curling effort on his return to the side after 10 months out.
Having already hit the bar, Wolves equalised after the break when Steven Fletcher headed in a Matt Jarvis cross.
A Fabrice Muamba shot and a Gretar Steinsson header were both saved by Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey.
The Welsh keeper kept his team in the game as Bolton's second-half pressure grew.
However, it was the hosts who were hanging on at the end as Jussi Jaaskelainen stopped Kevin Doyle's near-post header and substitute Tuncay headed against his own post from a Jarvis corner.
The point was Bolton's first draw at home this season, having lost eight and won just one of their previous nine games at the Reebok Stadium.
But with Blackburn's shock win at Manchester United lifting them off the bottom before Bolton kicked off, the draw was not enough to prevent Owen Coyle's side starting 2012 in last place.
Coyle had billed this game as his side's biggest of the season and he will be content to have at least avoided another defeat, as well as witnessing a performance by defender Gary Cahill - set to join Chelsea - that repaid the faith Coyle had shown in naming him as skipper.
Despite forming the centre of the league's worst defence, the England defender and Zat Knight had a fine first half, dealing ably with Wolves' crosses.
When the visitors did break through after the half-hour, Jaaskelainen was on hand to tip Stephen Ward's fine shot from 25 yards out on to the bar.
RICKETTS'S RARE STRIKE
- Sam Ricketts's last goal in competitive football was for Hull in March 2007 against Southend
- The game against Wolves was his first since injuring his Achilles against Wigan in February last season
By that stage Bolton had already taken the lead, Ricketts showing no signs of rustiness after his lengthy absence and scoring his first goal since March 2007, when he was playing for Hull.
The goal was worth the wait too, the Welshman collecting a square ball in Wolves's half and advancing down the inside left channel, before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the far top corner.
The goal gave the hosts confidence and they could have doubled their lead after a sweeping move, but Ivan Klasnic's effort from Martin Petrov's cross was straight at Hennessey.
Bolton's good spell came to an abrupt end after the break when Fletcher scored his eighth of the season but there was a suggestion that the free-kick that led to it was a soft one.
Jarvis fizzed in the delivery and with Ricketts losing track of the Wolves striker, Fletcher nodded in from close range.
Muamba came close to restoring the lead for Bolton when he fired towards the corner from Petrov's cutback, but Hennessey flung himself to his left to tip the effort round the post.
And David Ngog almost turned in another Petrov centre before Steinsson's header was again well saved by Hennessey from the resulting corner.
Wolves responded late on through Doyle twice and Tuncay, but they had to make do with a draw that leaves them two points above the relegation zone heading into 2012.
Bolton have greater cause for worry however as, after a trip to Everton on 4 January, their following three games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Having won just nine of 36 matches in 2011, the new year promises to be an equally demanding challenge.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "There were pleasing aspects but we must bring that performance together for the whole duration of a match. And if we do that there's no doubt we can pick up points and move up the Premier League.
"When you're down in bottom three you leave yourselves open to criticism but you must see through that. We'll look to get one or two back from injury and we'll look to add one or two in the January transfer window."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "We were hopeless in first half. The result at half-time was divided by a fingertip or the width of the crossbar, they had a wonderful strike that went in and we had one from Stephen Ward that didn't.
"In the second half we changed it and Dave Edwards had a great half. We deserved a point and it was probably a fair result and we could have nicked it with a couple of chances."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.90:00 +1:25
The official flags Tuncay Sanli offside. Indirect free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.90:00 +0:13
The ball is delivered by Martin Petrov, clearance made by Karl Henry.89:41
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is ruled offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the free kick.87:06 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Davies is brought on as a substitute for David Ngog.85:33
Corner from right by-line taken by Kevin Foley.84:17
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis.81:53
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis from the left by-line, Headed effort from inside the box by Stephen Ward misses to the right of the target.80:47 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Foley joins the action as a substitute, replacing Stephen Hunt.80:31
Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Jussi Jaaskelainen makes a save.76:24
Martin Petrov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.76:24 Substitution
Substitution Tuncay Sanli is brought on as a substitute for Ivan Klasnic.75:13
Mark Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matthew Jarvis. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Stephen Hunt from left channel, David Ngog manages to make a clearance.74:38
Gretar Rafn Steinsson has a shot on goal from long range that goes wide left.73:54
Foul by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on Gary Cahill, free kick awarded. Samuel Ricketts takes the free kick.71:59
Free kick awarded for a foul by Roger Johnson on Martin Petrov. Free kick taken by Martin Petrov. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Martin Petrov, Gary Cahill takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.71:04
Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Blocked by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.68:29
Centre by Gretar Rafn Steinsson, clearance by Roger Johnson.67:07 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Doyle comes on in place of Steven Fletcher.64:05
David Edwards produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
Samuel Ricketts takes a shot. Wayne Hennessey makes a save.62:12
A cross is delivered by Martin Petrov, Christophe Berra manages to make a clearance.61:36
Foul by Fabrice Muamba on Stephen Hunt, free kick awarded. Richard Stearman restarts play with the free kick.61:01
The assistant referee flags for offside against Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.59:45
Christophe Berra concedes a free kick for a foul on David Ngog. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.59:18
Samuel Ricketts crosses the ball, Christophe Berra manages to make a clearance.57:54
The assistant referee flags for offside against Matthew Jarvis. Indirect free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.57:33
Foul by David Ngog on Stephen Hunt, free kick awarded. David Edwards restarts play with the free kick.55:52
Mark Davies takes a shot. Wayne Hennessey makes a save.54:32
Fabrice Muamba takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.52:45
Matthew Jarvis is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.51:21
Effort from the edge of the area by Ivan Klasnic goes wide of the left-hand post.50:31
The referee gives a free kick against Christophe Berra for handball. Gretar Rafn Steinsson restarts play with the free kick.49:55
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Cahill by Steven Fletcher. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.48:04
Assist on the goal came from Matthew Jarvis.48:04 Goal scored
Goal! - Steven Fletcher - Bolton 1 - 1 Wolves Steven Fletcher finds the net with a headed goal from close in. Bolton 1-1 Wolverhampton.47:42
Samuel Ricketts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Fletcher. Matthew Jarvis produces a cross,46:31
Corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis. David Ngog gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Hunt. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Stephen Hunt, save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen.45:30
Unfair challenge on Fabrice Muamba by Karl Henry results in a free kick. Samuel Ricketts takes the direct free kick.45:01
The second half has started.45:01 Substitution
Substitution George Elokobi goes off and David Edwards comes on.45:00 +1:03 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +0:38
David Ngog challenges Stephen Hunt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.43:19
Foul by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on Gary Cahill, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.40:41
Stephen Hunt takes a shot. Zat Knight gets a block in.40:17
Ivan Klasnic takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.37:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Ngog on Christophe Berra. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.35:44
Handball by Fabrice Muamba. Free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.34:10
Foul by Fabrice Muamba on Karl Henry, free kick awarded. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.32:37
Corner taken by Stephen Hunt from the left by-line, clearance by Gary Cahill. Stephen Ward has an effort at goal from 20 yards.32:12
Steven Fletcher fouled by Nigel Reo-Coker, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by George Elokobi.31:24
Effort from inside the area by David Ngog misses to the right of the target.30:36
The referee blows for offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the free kick.29:32
Ivan Klasnic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Christophe Berra. Wayne Hennessey takes the free kick.28:45
Fabrice Muamba fouled by Karl Henry, the ref awards a free kick. Zat Knight restarts play with the free kick.28:06
Effort from the edge of the area by Martin Petrov goes wide of the left-hand upright.26:15
Inswinging corner taken by Stephen Hunt.24:58
Martin Petrov takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.21:38
Fabrice Muamba provided the assist for the goal.21:38 Goal scored
Goal! - Samuel Ricketts - Bolton 1 - 0 Wolves Samuel Ricketts gets on the score sheet with a goal from just inside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Bolton 1-0 Wolverhampton.16:25
Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.11:23
David Ngog takes a shot. Save made by Wayne Hennessey.10:52
Corner taken left-footed by Martin Petrov from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.9:40
Martin Petrov takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.7:12
David Ngog fouled by Roger Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Samuel Ricketts takes the direct free kick.2:17
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is caught offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the indirect free kick.1:18
David Ngog takes a shot. Stephen Ward gets a block in.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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