Palace fans were left frustrated as ex-Eagles manager Dougie Freedman left Selhurst Park with a share of the spoils on his return to the club.
It was Freedman's Bolton side though who began the game on the front foot and the dangerous Chris Eagles arrowed an effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box after just 18 seconds. Hard work from the groundstaff had made the pitch perfectly playable but both sides struggled for rhythm in the opening stages. Palace's best work was coming down the left where Dean Moxey's hard running meant the Eagles were at least getting in crosses, if not shots.
At the home of the Eagles, Bolton's namesake Chris look determined to take the headlines but he was soon booked for diving on the edge of the Palace box and then spoken to by the referee after a flare up with Moxey. The winger was still the biggest threat on the pitch though and he stung Julian Speroni's palms with another strike from distance that the Argentine did well to parry to safety. Then Palace were given a huge let-off when Darren Pratley headed badly wide after Tyrone Mears had got on the over-lap and delivered the perfect outswinging cross.
That miss seemed to finally bring the Eagles to life and Moxey soon had a penalty shout turned down as his cross hammered into Eagles' raised arms from close range. Zaha's trickery then found him half a yard in the box but the Bolton defence recovered quickly to smuggle the ball clear. Palace then had the ball in the net as Glenn Murray reacted quickest to slam home after Adam Bogdan could only parry Yannick Bolasie's fierce drive, but the flag was quickly up for offside.
Ian Holloway's side were on top as the half drew to a close but despite a string of corners and long throws from Moxey the Eagles were still yet to really test Bodgan at the break.
The second half began in much the same vein with neither side able to take control. Alex Nimely almost marked his first Palace start with a goal from debutant Jacob Butterfield's corner but strength in numbers allowed Wanderers to clear and on the counter another Chris Eagles strike flew across the goal and wide after good work from Chung-Yong Lee and Mears. Lee then rose highest to meet a Bolton corner and Kevin Davies swivelled in the six yard box but could only toe-poke his shot wide.
Andre Moritz's introduction had helped the balance of the Palace side, with Zaha a growing threat from the right wing, and the two almost linked up to give Palace the lead on 65 minutes as the young winger shot against the post only to see the Brazilian steer the rebound wide from a narrow angle. Again Zaha probed and looked to make the difference though as he got the better of Alonso down the right, got to the byline and laid on the perfect pass for Murray, only to see the Championship's top scorer side-foot wide with only Bogdan to beat.
Zaha continued to dazzle out wide and twice went close with efforts that flashed across the face of goal but, despite that flurry from the Eagles, Holloway's side had to settle for a point that left them in fourth, just two points from the automatic promotion places.
Palace XI: Speroni, Parr, Butterfield (Williams 75). Bolasie, Jedinak (c), Zaha, Murray, Moxey, Nimely (Moritz 52), Delaney, Ramage (Marrow 73)
Subs Not Used: Price, Wilbraham, Easter, O'Keefe
Bolton XI: Bogdan, Mears, Alonso, Ream, Eagles, Andrews (Vela 75), Knight, K Davies (c) (N'Gog 85), Spearing, Pratley (C Davies 85), Lee
Subs: Lonergan, Afobe, Ricketts, Sordell
Bookings: Eagles, Andrews, Pratley
Attendance: 17,033 (Away: 977)