We looked dead and buried as we trailed 2-1 with time running out in normal time only for Goran Bunjevcevic to come up with his second goal in two Carling Cup ties with five minutes left - his only two goals for the club have come in this competition this season - to take the game into extra time.
We then took a grip of the tie in the first period of extra time as Michael Brown headed home only his second goal for us from Michael Carrick's free-kick and Jermain Defoe finished clinically when Nicky Hunt's attempted pass clipped off Robbie Keane and into the striker's path.
But just as it looked over, Bolton hit back with Les Ferdinand burying a textbook header from Hunt's cross.
The second period of extra time was an amazing. Keane twice and Defoe went through on goal and went for glory when they might have squared to each other while at the other end, Bolton laid seige to Kasey Keller's goal for the final few minutes.
The USA keeper made the save of the night to deny Ferdinand an equaliser and, in the final seconds, held firm to grasp a tricky ball under his crossbar and then save from Henrik Pedersen. That was that.
The first 90 minutes was almost boring in comparison with the home side enjoying the better of it.
They took the lead after 27 minutes when a host of bodies went in for Hierro's free-kick only for the final touch to be credited to Ledley King.
We hit back just before the break with a moment of magic from Defoe, taking Pedro Mendes' pass, turning his marker and shooting low past Poole from 22 yards.
Our best spell just after the interval came to nothing and Bolton took what looked like a decisive 2-1 lead with 15 minutes to go when Bunjevcevic was penalised for pulling Pedersen's shirt and Jay Jay Okocha buried the spot kick.
But Bunjevcevic made up for it with six minutes left of normal time with a real poacher's goal - volleying home after King flicked on Keane's cross.
GUIDE TO THE ACTION
2mins: Davis attempted chip from 25 yards always going over.
7mins: Kevin Davies battled for possession on the edge of the area, managed to get a shot off under pressure but straight at Keller.
13mins: MISS. Diouf cross from the right flank, Pedersen onto it but slid wide from six yards.
25mins: Keller decent punch away from Pedersen's testing cross.
27mins: GOAL. Hierro free-kick, Nolan and Davies went in for it, flicked off a head and into corner, not sure of scorer, Pedersen claiming it, announced as Ledley King own goal.
Bolton 1, Spurs 0
38mins: Hierro shot took wicked deflection but thankfully far enough out for Keller to recover and save.
39mins: Our best move so far, Davies break down the right, good cross met by Kanoute, header took a slight deflection and therefore lost a little power and Poole saved comfortably.
40mins: SAVE. Okocha's cross went all the way through to Diouf, managed to get a touch, Keller decent reaction save to grab ball.
42mins: CHANCE. Lovely pass from Hierro released Pedersen, would have been through on Keller but first touch failed him and Keller able to collect.
44mins: GOAL. Typical Defoe goal. Decent pass from Mendes but hardly anything on, Defoe controlled, turned and shot inside corner from 22 yards.
Bolton 1, Spurs 1
Injury time: YELLOW. Nolan for foul on Ziegler.
Half-time: Bolton 1, Spurs
48mins: Good move, Mendes spread play, Bunjevcevic to Ziegler on overlap, driven cross hacked away by Gardner.
48mins: From corner, Poole punched high, ball fell to Naybet whose shot was deflected wide.
49mins: WOODWORK. From following corner, ball went all the way through to Kanoute at far post, managed to turn it towards goal and it bobbled on the top of the crossbar.
54mins: Great low cross from Pedersen fizzed across six-yard line without a touch.
56mins: Poole long clearance, Davies flick, Pedersen attempted curler saved comfortably by Keller to his left.
61mins: Hierro's free-kick from right flank drifted just wide.
62mins: Hierro half-volley from 30 yards sailed over.
63mins: SUB. Keane for Kanoute.
69mins: YELLOW. Cesar for foul on Keane.
71mins: SUB. Giannakopoulos for Hunt.
74mins: MISS. Miss of the season. Good work from Diouf, into box, took time to pick out right ball square to Pedersen who somehow scooped over from two yards.
75mins: GOAL. Okocha spot kick after Bunjevcevic penalised for pulling Pedersen's shirt.
Bolton 2, Spurs 1
78mins: SUB. Brown for Davies.
82mins: SUB. Ferdinand for Davies.
84mins: GOAL. Keane's corner flicked into the danger area by King and Bunjevcevic volleyed home from eight yards.
Bolton 2, Spurs 2
85mins: Moment of panic as Keller lost cross but recovered quickly to gather second ball.
Injury time: Keane break, beat Haim, had Defoe in support but tried to beat Cesar who produced fine tackle in box.
Injury time: Keane chance from Davis corner but failed to connect with header.
Full-time: Bolton 2, Spurs 2
Extra-time: SUB. Carrick for Davis.
92mins: SUB: Kaku for Hierro.
93mins: SAVE. Keller at full stretch to tip aside Okocha's drive from tight angle.
94mins: GOAL. Brown in a far post to meet Carrick's free-kick from left touchline and head home from close range.
Bolton 2, Spurs 3
98mins: SAVE. Keller reactions to scoop away Pamarot's miskicked clearance.
99mins: CLOSE. Pedersen's overhead kick deflected inches wide.
99mins: SAVE. Keller at full stretch to save Hunt's dipping effort.
102mins: Keane snapshot well wide from 20 yards.
104mins: GOAL. Hunt's attempted pass clipped off Keane into path of Defoe who finished clinically.
Bolton 2, Spurs 4
105mins: GOAL. Straight up the other end and Ferdinand textbook header from Hunt's cross.
Bolton 3, Spurs 4
Half-time, extra-time: Bolton 3, Spurs 4
112mins: YELLOW. Hunt.
115mins: SAVE. Brilliant from Keller. Tipped away Haim's cross straight to Ferdinand, 10 yards out, but up in time to parry header away.
116mins: YELLOW. Brown for foul on Gardner.
118mins: Panic as Ferdinand won header from free-kick, ball landing under bar but Keller claimed under pressure.
119mins: CHANCE. Carrick played Keane through, could have squared to Defoe, opted to shoot, Poole made save.
Injury time, extra time: CHANCE. Ziegler beat Hunt, played in Keane, could have squared again, shot again, Poole saved again.
Injury time, extra time: YELLOW. Defoe for failing to retreat from free-kick.
Injury time, extra time: CHANCE. Same scenario, Defoe through this time, Keane and Brown in support, went alone, Poole saved.
Injury-time, extra time: Mad scramble at far post but Keller managed to grab ball.
Injury-time, extra time: Keller another save, this time from Pedersen header. Last action.
Full-time: Bolton 3, Spurs 4
Line-ups: Bolton: Poole, Cesar, Nolan, Pedersen, Okocha, Gardner, Davies (Ferdinand, 82), Hunt (Giannakopoulos, 71), Hierro (Kaku, 92), Diouf, Haim. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Barness.
Spurs (4-4-2): Keller; Pamarot, King, Naybet, Bunjevcevic; Davis (Carrick, start of extra time), Mendes, Davies (Brown, 78), Ziegler; Kanoute (Keane, 63), Defoe. Subs: Fulop, Jackson.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Extra-time goals from Michael Brown and Jermain Defoe clinched an incredible Carling Cup third round tie against Bolton on Wednesday night.