Emmanuel Adebayor's 85th-minute tap-in, from a Clint Dempsey cross, earned Tottenham a vital 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday - keeping the dream of Champions League football alive for the White Hart Lane outfit next season.
It was always going to be a tough afternoon for Spurs, having not won against Stoke City in their last five outings, and they gave themselves a mountain to climb once again.
The game barely had time to take shape when in the 3rd minute, from a Charlie Adam free-kick, Steven Nzonzi got up to glance a header in at the near post.
Hugo Lloris managed to claw a decent hand to the ball, but it proved too powerful for the French international as it cannoned in off his near post.
Spurs regrouped and dominated the early stages, and they were rewarded for their superiority on the ball in the 19th minute. Dempsey adapted fantastically well to turn home a first time, looping his effort over Asmir Begovic, who ended up in no mans' land after a mix-up with Marc Wilson, who cleared the ball directly to the incoming Dempsey.
Tottenham continued to press and went in at half-time having claimed the vast majority of possession and shots on goal, but had failed to take the lead.
It took Adam just 78 seconds of the second half to hand Spurs the initiative. The Scotland international saw red for his second bookable offence, after his attempted but dreadfully mistimed slide tackle on Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham continued to dominate but struggled to break their resilient opponents down. Chance after chance came and went for Tottenham, while ten-man Stoke carried a real threat with their forced, counter-attacking mentality.
It looked as though Stoke had once again stopped Spurs from marching on when, on the 82nd minute, Tottenham's unlikely hero struck again.
Dempsey found some space to the right-hand side of the penalty area, before composing his touch and firing across the six-yard box to a grateful and composed Adebayor, who fired home from point-blank range.
But having fired their bitter north London rivals into an unwanted spotlight, forcing Arsenal to produce in their next home game against a rejuvenated, FA Cup winning Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.
They can go home with heads held high and, for now at least, Champions League football remains a possibility.
Can Arsenal mirror the light back to their north London neighbours with a win against Wigan on Tuesday night?
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