Craig Gordon kept us at bay before Sunderland's quickfire equaliser saw the points shared at the Lane on Tuesday night.
The Scottish international goalkeeper was in fine form and produced five saves out of the top drawer as we pushed and pushed for the opening goal in this Barclays Premier League encounter.
Luka Modric, David Bentley twice and Rafael van der Vaart twice were all denied by Gordon inside the first hour.
And typically, when Gordon was beaten, Tom Huddlestone's thunderous half-volley rattled the crossbar.
The breakthrough finally arrived on 64 minutes when half-time substitute Peter Crouch and van der Vaart combined again for the Dutchman to maintain is record of scoring in every league game he's started at the Lane.
But if the relief at that goal was tangible for the majority of the 35,843 crowd, so was the disappointment of conceding just three minutes later when Asamoah Gyan got away from William Gallas and Younes Kaboul before slotting home.
All that hard work to get in front undone in an instant and we never rediscovered the same flow in our game after that.
Harry Redknapp made four changes to the team that started at Bolton.
Roman Pavlyuchenko was up front supported by van der Vaart, who returned from a hamstring injury. Huddlestone returned to partner Luka Modric in central midfield with David Bentley back for his first league start of the campaign.
We started with a good tempo and Gordon was forced to palm away a low drive from Modric inside three minutes. Kaboul and Pavlyuchenko were also just off target.
Sunderland responded with Kieran Richardson's shot just wide and hearts were in mouths when Kaboul stuck out a leg to the same player's effort a minute later, the ball floating agonisingly just wide.
Huddlestone raised the roof with a spectacular strike in the corresponding fixture almost a year ago and was inches away from a carbon-copy strike when his half-volley rattled the crossbar, Gordon motionless.
We continued to pile on the pressure but had to wait another 10 minutes for the next effort, van der Vaart firing wide, 28 minutes on the clock.
Gordon then kept us out with three fine saves. Van der Vaart was first to try his luck, Gordon there at the near post to divert away after the Dutchman's one-two with Huddlestone.
Bentley then saw his free-kick from a tight angle clawed away and the Scottish international saved his best until last to deny the same player, this time after Bentley cut in from the right and aimed a left-foot shot to the top corner. Fine goalkeeping.
Crouch entered the fray for Pavlyuchenko at half-time with Danny Welbeck on for Cristian Riveros.
We were soon on the offensive as first van der Vaart glanced Hutton's cross just wide and then appeals for a penalty as Bentley looked upended by Zenden. Referee Mr Webb opted to book Bentley.
Gomes did well to hold onto Zenden's free-kick through a crowded box before Gordon's next intervention, this save almost in slow motion as he clawed away van der Vaart's downward header from Bale's corner.
There was nothing Gordon could do about the opener though.
Bale flighted a cross to the far post where Crouch headed back for van der Vaart to control, turn and find the corner from close range.
Having waited 64 minutes to finally breakthrough, it was all the more galling that the lead lasted all of three minutes.
There didn't look much on either as Welbeck fed the ball into Gyan, 25 yards out, but the striker managed to escape from Gallas and Kaboul and was left with time to calmly sidefoot home.
The goal clearly rocked us and where our play flowed leading up to van der Vaart's opener, we now started to become a little anxious.
Sunderland almost cashed in three minutes from time when Gomes raced out to meet Gyan but had to let go of the ball on the edge of his penalty area. Malbranque nipped in and was brought down by the keeper right on the edge. Gomes was yellow carded, Zenden's free-kick hit the defensive wall.
There were no further chances in four minutes of added time and the points were shared.
Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Bentley, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Pavlyuchenko (Crouch, 46). Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Jenas, Kranjcar, Palacios.
Sunderland (4-5-1): Gordon; Onuoha, Turner, Bramble, Ferdinand (Bardsley, 19); Henderson, Cattermole, Richardson (Malbranque, 86), Riveros (Welbeck, 46), Zenden; Gyan. Unused subs: Mignolet, Angeleri, Da Silva, Elmohamady.
Goals: Spurs - Van der Vaart 64. Sunderland - Gyan 67.
Referee: Mr H Webb.