Robert Green and the visiting defence were in fine form as we were held to a 0-0 London derby draw by West Ham at the Lane.
We dominated the first half and hit the woodwork twice but could not break the deadlock before the England goalkeeper came into his own after the break, making key saves particularly from Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale. Defenders Manuel Da Costa, Matthew Upson and Wayne Bridge were also key in the shut-out.
The result means we failed to close the gap between us and fourth-placed Chelsea to less than two points before their meeting with third-placed Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Fans received the news they had hoped for prior to kick-off when Bale was named in the starting lineup for the first time since January 22.
He had made substitute appearances in our last two games following his return from a back injury, but he resumed his place in the first XI for this London derby.
And it was as if the Welsh wing wizard had never been away, asking questions of West Ham right-back Lars Jacobsen early on before our first chance came from an unlikely source.
Captain Michael Dawson had stayed up from a corner and curled a terrific shot onto Green’s bar in the fourth minute. Cue a barrage of attacks on the visiting goal.
Bale’s low cross on seven minutes was poked inches wide by Defoe and Aaron Lennon struck over at the back post following a corner two minutes later.
On 17 minutes, Luka Modric received a short corner and curled a fierce shot wide from the edge of the box before Rafael van der Vaart showed great technique to control a half-volley and strike just wide as a corner was fizzed to him at the same distance.
From this attack, West Ham went down the other end to create their only real chance of the half – but what a chance it was.
Their strike partnering of Demba Ba and Carlton Cole linked up well to see the latter through on goal one-on-one with Heurelho Gomes, but his finish was poor and straight at the goalkeeper.
Around the same period, midway through the half, the visitors did tighten up defensively, but we continued to ask questions.
Modric worked some space in the box on 33 minutes before firing inches wide with Green at full stretch, and we hit the woodwork again five minutes from the break.
Bale and Lennon had switched flanks with the latter coming off the left onto his right foot to hit a low shot against the post. The rebound came out at Defoe too quickly for him to react and tap home into an empty net.
The second half was a different story, with West Ham coming out of their shell far more, and it showed from the first minute.
Gomes was forced into a smart save from a tight angle by Cole, but our best chance of the half was to fall to Defoe five minutes later.
Vedran Corluka linked up well with Modric, who burst into the box on the right side before pulling across goal for Defoe to take a touch before shooting at point blank range, but somehow the legs of Green denied him that elusive 100th Spurs goal.
However, it was the visitors asking us questions for much of the half, and there were a couple of notable scares.
Mark Noble volleyed an overhead kick just wide on 56 minutes, before Gomes was forced into his best save of the match by a 20-yard effort from Ba.
With just over 15 minutes remaining, Harry Redknapp introduced Roman Pavlyuchenko off the bench for Van der Vaart in an effort to turn the tide.
It worked to an extent as we had the better of the latter stages and really applied the pressure – but it was spell in which the impressive Green came into his own.
He saved twice from Pavlyuchenko in the last 10 minutes before producing the save of the match four minutes from time.
Bale’s free-kick was curling towards the top corner before Green flew through the air to his left to tip onto the bar in spectacular fashion.
Defoe threatened twice more before the end, but he first fired over from a good position before Bridge made a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny the striker.
Not to be our day in this derby.
Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Corluka (Hutton, 78), Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Sandro, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart (Pavlyuchenko, 72); Defoe
Subs not used: Pletikosa, Bassong, Jenas, Kranjcar, Crouch
West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson, Bridge; O’Neill, Noble, Parker, Hitzlsperger; Ba, Cole (Obinna, 78)
Subs not used: Boffin, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Hines, Sears
Referee: Mike Dean