The youngest-ever Wanderers side, with an average age of just 19, fought to earn a point – and could only be separated by penalties.
Dennis Politic gave Bolton a first-half lead before Paudie O’Connor headed an equaliser for the visitors in the second half.
New management team Keith Hill and David Flitcroft were paraded in front of more than 9,000 supporters – comfortably the biggest crowd of the night – prior to kick-off.
Nine new signings made on deadline day suggest there could be big changes to the side for the next game, a week on Saturday at Rotherham United.
But the so-called ‘Junior Whites’ were given a standing ovation as they left the field in recognition of the way they have performed in difficult circumstances over the first month of the season.
“I would guess that’s the youngest team that has ever represented the club and it was great to go into the lead for once this season, it gave the players bigger heart,” Phillips said.
“Bradford came out stronger for the second half and we soaked up a lot of the pressure. Once again Matty Alexander had another great game in goal and anything that was thrown at him he saved, apart from the header from a corner.
“To take the game to 1-1 in normal time and then penalties was a fantastic achievement for the boys.
“The fact the game was delayed 10 minutes to let everyone into the stadium says a lot.
“It was a fantastic turnout and it’s a great foundation block for Keith Hill and Dave Flitcroft to come in and hopefully continue the boost the club has been given.”
Phillips also signed-off his own stint in caretaker charge and will now revert back to managing the academy alongside some coaching duties with the Under-23s.
“I am experienced in the game of football and I realise there are ups and downs,” he said. “But what is nice is that the young players who’ve had such a tough baptism in league football, being on the wrong end of some 5-0 defeats, have come out of the game knowing they’ve held their own against a Bradford side with plenty of experience.
“It will do wonders for their confidence, going forward, and that’s good news for the academy.”
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