We led 2-0 at the break through Souleymane Coulibaly and Shaq Coulthirst but, after dominating possession for much of the first hour, we contrived to throw away our advantage in the last quarter of the game.
The contest saw the return to action of Brazilian international midfielder Sandro after consecutive hamstring and calf problems, while Danny Rose started at left-back having missed last week’s 4-0 win at Newcastle in the Premier League.
We dominated possession for most of the first period, although goalkeeper Jordan Archer was required to make a couple of early stops to keep the visitors at bay. First he pulled off a fine save from point-blank range to keep out Oscar Threlkeld’s header, before palming out a speculative long-range effort from the lively Robert Hall.
We soon seized the upper hand, Kenny McEvoy heading over from Coulthirst’s ball in and Harry Kane testing Bolton stopper Jay Lynch from long range.
Coulthirst had the ball in the net in the eighth minute but his effort was ruled out for off-side, while a quick Bolton break saw Hayden White flash a dangerous ball across the face of goal which ran just beyond the arriving Sanmi Odelusi.
Coulibaly was denied by a fine covering tackle by Threlkeld following a fluid attacking move, but Bolton keeper Lynch was injured in the build-up and had to be replaced.
We finally broke the deadlock mid-way through the first period as Coulibaly climbed highest in the box to nod home McEvoy’s corner.
Coulthirst then stabbed a shot wide after controlling Coulibaly’s pass inside the area while Kane and Milos Veljkovic were off target as we continue to press the visitors back.
Sandro’s 30-yard shot was straight at substitute goalkeeper Harry Campbell, but the visiting stopper could do nothing to keep out Coulthirst’s header in the 37th minute – the forward diverting Alex McQueen’s right sided cross inside the far post.
Campbell made a good stop at close quarters to deny Coulibaly, while Rose showed his defensive wherewithal to prevent Hall from running loose in the box at the other end.
Veljkovic crashed a shot wide while Kane again tested Campbell, but Hall had the last chance of the half as he cut in from the right and drilled just beyond Archer’s left-hand post.
Hall ballooned a shot over the top for Bolton just beyond the hour mark, while Campebll had to be alert to keep out a shot from substitute Ruben Lameiras.
The game took a decisive turn on 67 minutes as Dominic Ball was shown a straight red card having been adjudged to have made an ill-timed challenge on Hall as he galloped into the box. Tom Youngs sent Archer the wrong way from the spot and it was downhill from then on for our lads.
Chris Lester bundled home Bolton’s leveller at the back post after Odelusi’s left wing cross was helped on its way by Andy Kellet, while the latter flashed a shot wide from 20 yards.
Bolton substitute Georg Iliev then helped himself to three goals in five minutes.
First he bundled home from close range after Lester capitalised on a defensive mistake, before controlling well and firing low inside the near post on 81 minutes. He completed his treble three minutes later from close range when he converted Hall’s cross.
Spurs: Archer, A McQueen, Rose (Stewart 64), Veljkovic, Ball, Fryers, McEvoy, Sandro (Lameiras 51), Coulibaly, Kane (McEneff 64), Coulthirst. Sub (not used): McGee (GK).
Bolton: Lynch (Campbell 18), Threlkeld, Kellet, White, Bolger, Vela, Odelusi, Woodland, Clough (Iliev 71), Youngs (Lester 71), Hall. Subs (not used): Holding, Maher.