Matt Taylor had put Gary Megson's side in sight of a rare away victory with an exquisite first half free kick before Nugent marked his return to the starting line up by earning his side a point at Turf Moor.
Related ArticlesPremier League tablePremier League actionTelegraph player raterPremier League fixturesTransfer TalkSport on televisionBolton started the festive programme as the only team yet to record a cleansheet in the Premier League yet the absence of Burnley centre-backs Steven Cladwell and Clarke Carlisle to injury clearly lifted Gary Megson's struggling side.
The visitors had managed just two wins on their travels in the top-flight throughout the whole of 2009 yet Brian Jensen, the home keeper, was forced into a full stretch save to keep out Chris Basham's powerful 13th minute effort from 25 yards.
Kevin Davies has twice as many yellow cards than goals this season but he was allowed time and space to deliver a curling efort which narrowly missed the target before Taylor's excellent set-piece gave Bolton the lead.
Having already rejected strong Burnley appeals for a penalty following Gary Cahill's challenge on Nugent, referee Chris Foy awarded the visitors a 29th minute free kick after Andre Bikey's had hauled down Davies 25 yards from goal.
Jensen has denied Manchester United's Michael Carrick from the penalty spot this season but he could not keep out Taylor from 25-yards, the former Portsmouth player bending the ball into the top corner.
It made Steven Fletcher's horrendous miss six minute earlier even harder for the home fans to stomach, the Burnley forward screwing a glorious opportunity wide from seven yards after poor defending by Zat Knight allowed Wade Elliott to deliver a pint-point cross.
Fletcher will want to forget this game in hurry, the Scot skying another chance from close range high and wide in the 54th minute.
Both teams hit the woodwork before Nugent equalised. Kevin McDonald thought he had equalised with a thunderous effort from 20-yards which cannoned off and seconds later Bolton were denied a 2-0 lead when an effort by Taylor hit a post.
But Burnley made it five games unbeaten at home when Nugent leapt high to meet a 56th minute cross by the excellent Elliott and power the ball beyond the reach of Jussi Jaaskelainen.