Scroll to photostream above left for match photos. For stats, click on the statistics tab. Match reaction below.
An injury-time goal by Clint Dempsey thwarted Manchester United’s hopes of maintaining their seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League. United were a minute away from winning through Robin van Persie’s first-half header in the snow at White Hart Lane when the United States forward was found in the area by Aaron Lennon in the 93rd minute and he slotted home. That meant United’s lead over Manchester City at the top of the table before the weekend was cut to five points.
The match survived a late pitch inspection and in the opening ten minutes it was Spurs who were on top, although David de Gea remained untested. Scott Parker raided the United midfield to win the ball and drive at goal but he could only curl over the bar. At the other end, Van Persie peeled off his marker and met Phil Jones’ cross at the back post but Hugo Lloris saved the Dutchman’s header with ease.
Lennon flew up the other end and drove low at De Gea, who palmed it into Defoe’s path, but the England striker was ruled offside.
United took the lead in clinical fashion on 25 minutes. On the counter-attack the ball was switched from left to right by Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley’s precise cross to the far post was headed in by Van Persie. It was the Dutchman's sixth goal in the Barclays Premier League against Spurs and his 18th of the season.
Defoe shot tested De Gea but the closest that Spurs came to a first-half equaliser was when the United goalkeeper saved Bale’s deflected shot with his right leg. The same limb came to United’s rescue early in the second half too when Dempsey was played through the middle of the area but his weak shot was deflected behind by the Spaniard.
Spurs cranked up the pressure as they went in search of a goal and the United goalkeeper was forced into more conventional action by pushing Dempsey’s shot from an angle into the side-netting midway through the second half.
Wayne Rooney came on for Welbeck after 60 minutes and his first action was to see claims for a penalty rejected by referee Chris Foy. It was a brief respite for United as they started to sit deeper and deeper.
Rio Ferdinand blocked Defoe just as he seemed certain to score in the 78th minute and when the Spurs striker did get a shot away two minutes later it was straight at De Gea. With two minutes remaining Ferdinand deflected a fierce shot from Bale just past De Gea’s near post with the goalkeeper a spectator.
The United defence of Nemanja Vidic and Ferdinand looked as if they would hold firm, but Lennon got the ball after a cross was not cleared and found Dempsey to stroke home.
Spurs remain fourth on 41 points but dropped four points behind Chelsea in third after the West London side beat Arsenal 2-1 earlier in the day.
Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas: "We dominated the whole game, played well and deserved to win to be fair. We had 60 per cent possession against United, 15 shots against four and should have won. Champions like United have to go through moments like this but I think we deserved this last-minute goal.
"We set our targets high, we wanted to win. We understood you are not going to go two or three up but we managed to get at least a point and a deserved point.
"It was probably the worst United game in terms of opportunities, with them having only four. It is a pity we couldn't win but I'm extremely happy with the draw obviously."
"It is very tight between [Manchester City and Manchester United. They are two strong teams with top quality squads and individuals. I think it is for either of the Manchester teams as the distance to third place is quite important. I'm not sure [who will win the league] but United have the experience that can help them."
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "We had the opportunity to kill them off on the counter-attack but our final ball let us down.“We worked really hard, as did Tottenham. It was a really difficult, gruelling game but we dealt with everything they did.
"They kept pumping that ball in the box and we kept heading it out. Unfortunately we didn’t get that last one that really mattered, the last kick of the game. It’s not an easy place to come to. They are a very aggressive, committed team.
“We have been to all the top teams' grounds so far. We just have Arsenal left and we think we can be pleased with the outcome of them all. We have got a healthy points total from them and it's another game out of the road. I wanted the game to go ahead today because we don't want a backlog and as it was, it proved I was right."
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|10 Mar 2013||v Liverpool (A)|