Forest had to settle for a point after Craig Davies cancelled out Andy Reid's goal for the hosts but the returning Forest manager was otherwise pleased with every aspect of the day.
The result leaves Forest in mid-table, eight points off the play-offs, but Davies was highly impressed by the players' application.
He said: "For a new manager to step in and get that kind of reaction is superb. The team were great, the fans were great but we just couldn't get the result that would have topped it off.
"We tried so hard to get it and the fact that we had 23 shots to their five says it all. Shots were raining in on their goal and I said to the players at the end `if you give me that effort, application, full-backs getting forward and chances created I can't complain'.
"We've trained this week but it's the first time I have seen them on a big pitch. There's a lot of work to do but the fans must be pleased with the response from the players - I'm delighted by it.
"Bolton are a good side, who should probably be top two, but I'm sure they would accept they got away with murder here.
"We'll take each game as it comes and if we get a run together, who knows where it might take us. We will be trying very hard to achieve as much as we can this season."