Tottenham Hotspurs's UEFA Champions League hopes remain intact following a 1-0 win at Stoke City on Saturday.
A first-half Danny Rose goal maintained the visitors' impressive record against 10-man Stoke, giving them their sixth win from the last nine Barclays Premier League encounters between the two.
The home side, who had Ryan Shawcross sent off just after half-time for two bookable offences, had won their last four home games and were unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium since January.
But Rose's first Barclays Premier League goal of the season settled matters, as he headed Spurs in front following good work from Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Potters’ task was made harder when Shawcross received his second booking for a challenge on Rose. And although they piled on the pressure in the hunt for an equaliser late on, they were kept out by a combination of some frantic defending and wayward finishing.
Tim Sherwood’s side made the early running and Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had to scramble in the opening minutes to touch Aaron Lennon's cross wide at his near post, after he had deceived Marc Muniesa – deputising for the ill Erik Pieters in the hosts' starting XI.
Mark Hughes’ side responded strongly and the returning Michael Dawson blocked a dangerous Geoff Cameron cross with Peter Crouch lurking, and then threw himself at a loose ball to block as Steven N'Zonzi was about to shoot.
Crouch was causing problems for his former side, and there was a nervous moment for Tottenham after 20 minutes when Hugo Lloris could only grab a deep Peter Odemwingie cross at the second attempt, with Crouch using his physical presence to unsettle the keeper.
Midfielder Stephen Ireland fashioned Stoke's first real chance in the 25th minute when he was allowed to run at the retreating Tottenham defence and curled a shot from the edge of the area narrowly wide of Lloris' left-hand post.
Tottenham broke away immediately on the counter-attack and Harry Kane tested Begovic with a low shot that the keeper smothered comfortably.
The decisive moment of the match came after 32 minutes when Rose got ahead of Cameron at the back post and powerfully headed home a dinked cross from Adebayor to give the London side the lead.
Kane nearly made it 2-0 a few seconds before the break, but his effort from just inside the box was blocked when he perhaps should have got a shot away first time.
Hughes’ side had the first chance of the second period when Marko Arnautovic cut in from the left and fired wide from 16 yards but the manager saw his plans left in tatters when captain Shawcross was sent off in the 53rd minute.
The defender was shown a second yellow card after a challenge towards goalscorer Rose, having already been cautioned a minute before the break for a foul on Christian Eriksen.
As the home crowd's frustration grew, an unmarked Odemwingie should have levelled for the side after 63 minutes when he met an inviting cross from substitute Pieters, but he flashed a point-blank header over.
A few seconds later, Arnautovic was played through the centre, only for Younes Kaboul to divert his shot wide.
Lloris then made a fine save from Arnautovic on the turn before Eriksen almost doubled Spurs lead with 12 minutes left when he curled a free-kick just over the crossbar.
There was still time for a late Potters chance when Arnautovic was played through again, but he could only strike a tame shot straight at Lloris as Sherwood’s side closed the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal to four points. The defeat leaves Stoke still with work to do to secure a first Barclays Premier League top-half finish.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: “Under difficult circumstances I thought we were absolutely magnificent, to a man. The crowd responded to what they saw on the pitch, they knew we needed their backing and they were delighted with what they saw and the sound in the stadium was something special today and I was really proud with everyone connected with Stoke City today.
"We put in a great performance and had no reward. I am really proud as it would be very easy for them, 1-0 down and down to ten-men, to feel like that was the end but I was very pleased with the reaction we got, but it doesn't surprise me."
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Tim Sherwood: "At this stage of the season it is about trying to get points, it is not always pretty and sometimes you have to dig in and work for each other and they certainly didn’t look like they had their sunglasses and flip-flops packed ready for holiday. They realised there was still a job to do for this great travelling support which we bring and they will try their best to the death, we have a derby at West Ham we need to win and we will send them home happy with victory in the final game with Aston Villa - that is the plan.
"In the second-half, I said be more patient with the ball and runs and we would create something but when they went down to ten-men that seemed to give them the initiative, the crowd was fantastic and drove them on and we had to ride it out. This team doesn't want to roll over and they are willing to put their bodies on the line and that is what I demand. I thought the two centre-halves were fantastic."
|03 May 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|11 May 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|29 Nov 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|02 Dec 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Stoke (H)|
|13 Dec 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|