FULL TIME: Wanderers 1 Everton 2
PLUCKY Wanderers were knocked out of the FA Cup at the bitter end of a pulsating match as John Heitinga's late strike gave David Moyes a smash and grab victory in his 500th match in charge of the Toffees.
Dougie Freedman's Whites had been much the better side over the course of 90 minutes and fully deserved at least a replay.
But the Dutchman produced a moment of magic in the first minute of injury time, drilling home from the edge of the box, to shatter Wanderers' resolve.
Everton threatened to steamroller their hosts early on, with Nicika Jelavic going close, but their was a touch of fortune about the way Steven Pienaar gave them the lead 19 minutes in.
Leighton Baines' cross was turned towards goal by Victor Anichebe but the striker's shot then bounced off a Whites defender before dribbling past Andy Lonergan via Pienaar.
All the possession was going the way of the visitors but Wanderers slowly worked their way into it, and levelled the scores just before the half-hour when Sam Ricketts and Darren Pratley combined on the right, the latter pulling back a low cross for Marvin Sordell to turn home impressively at the near post for his fifth goal of the season.
Less than a minute later, the marauding Pratley warmed Tim Howard's hands with a stinging shot.
And Everton's American keeper was a busy man before the half time break, pushing away a low shot from Marcos Alonso and then blocking a swerving effort from Chris Eagles.
Full-back Alonso, subject of a rejected bid from Serie A club Fiorentina this week, was in sensational form, and his skimming shot just after the break had Howard sprawling once again.
Everton's early dominance had faded completely but there was a reminder on 69 minutes that they couldn't rest easily as Pienaar drove deep into the Bolton half and drove a shot pushed away only by the fingertips of Lonergan.
The arrival of Stuart Holden off the bench – his first game at the Reebok since a 3-2 against Aston Villa on March 5, 2011 – sparked rousing scenes in the stands and sparked a grandstand finish.
Knight so nearly got the goal Wanderers deserved when he headed wide with two minutes left on the clock.
But the Toffees snatched it right at the death as Wanderers looked to have cleared a Pienaar's corner, sub John Heitinga blasted a shot through a crowd of defenders into the bottom corner.
Magaye Gueye nearly made it three with a shot that cannoned off the bar.
Wanderers tried desperately to muster one last effort, and it fell to Alonso, who put a late shot from the edge of the box just off target.