Harry Kane’s 88th-minute header snatched all three points for Tottenham against relegation-threatened London rivals Crystal Palace.
Kane peeled away at the back post to head home Christian Eriksen’s corner just as it seemed Spurs were going to fail to convert having almost 80% of the possession.
England striker Kane had earlier been unusually wasteful in front of goal for the visitors with close-range misses at the start of both halves.
It had appeared to be a chance missed for Spurs as Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey produced a superb save from Ben Davies with just over 15 minutes remaining before Serge Aurier missed an open goal for the visitors inside the last five minutes.
Spurs moved up one place in the table after extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 games, although Chelsea can regain fourth place with victory against Manchester United later in the afternoon.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs remain the only side yet to lose in the Premier League in 2018, although this was only a third league win in their past 10 games away from home.
Defeat leaves Palace 17th, level on points with 18th-placed Swansea.
Dive, dive, dive
Dele Alli was involved in another diving controversy with 16 minutes remaining, with former Premier League striker Steve Claridge saying on BBC Radio 5 live “he’s probably half a foot away from Wayne Hennessey when he’s dived into him” in reference to the England midfielder’s dramatic tumble over the Palace goalkeeper.
The England midfielder was not booked by referee Kevin Friend on this occasion – he has already been booked twice for diving this season – but he might prefer to avoid social media for a while after his latest fall.
He did little to repay former England manger Hodgson, who had jumped to the defence of the man to whom he had given a first international cap.
Alli was involved in the most tackles of any Spurs player (five), but it was a quiet match for the midfielder overall as he made 36 passes compared with 92 from Eric Dier, and 58 touches compared with 109 by Eriksen.
It was a better afternoon for Kane, who has now scored 23 goals in 34 Premier League London derbies – equalling Didier Drogba’s total in all-capital fixtures from 30 fewer games.
Kane’s goals have also been worth more points to his club than any other player in the Premier League this season – 14.
Get well soon, Wilfried
Palace have 12 senior players out injured heading into the home stretch of the season, including meetings with another three of the top five in their next four games until the end of March.
That injury list led Roy Hodgson to hand winger Aaron Wan-Bissaka a debut at right-back against Tottenham, and the 20-year-old did not look that out of place.
But for Palace, the most crucial on a list that also includes Mamadou Sakho, Martin Kelly, Joel Ward, Jeffrey Schlupp, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Bakary Sako, is Wilfried Zaha.
Palace have now lost all 10 games they have played without Zaha since September 2016.
Zaha, who has scored four league goals in 20 starts this season, suffered a knee injury in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle at the start of February.
The 25-year-old was initially ruled out for a month. Hodgson has said Zaha is “well ahead” of schedule, although that is still likely to be several weeks.
Palace’s fate will probably not be determined by results against the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, but by games like the 17 March visit to Huddersfield that breaks up that run.
‘We always knew we could score’ – reaction
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “I think in the end we got what we wanted, and we fully deserved the victory. The three points puts us in a really good position in the table.
“We started to feel towards the end it was difficult today, but we always knew we could score. We had great players on the pitch and when you have them it’s always possible to score.”
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It’s very frustrating. I feel really sorry for the players, because to work as hard as that, and to be under the cosh as long as we were, I thought we worked so hard, and suffered the loss of James Tomkins to a severe cramp, so it’s cruel then when you concede so late in the game.
“If I’d have been talking to you here at 0-0, I’d have been a happy man. But now I can’t hide my feelings. I’m not an actor, I’m really sad for the players. I see how disappointed they are in the dressing room and there’s not much I can say to change how they feel – no praise will change how they’re feeling right now.”
Assist king Eriksen at it again- the stats
- Only Darren Anderton with 67 has provided more assists for Spurs in the Premier League than Christian Eriksen with 45, who is now joint second for the club alongside Aaron Lennon.
- Spurs are now unbeaten in their past 15 games in all competitions, their longest run since going 16 without defeat between December 1998 and March 1999.
- Harry Kane scored the 150th goal of his club career in all competitions, with 134 of those coming as a Spurs player.
- Crystal Palace are winless in their past five Premier League games, their worst run since Roy Hodgson took charge in September 2017.
- Spurs have conceded just one goal in their past six games against the Eagles in the Premier League, winning all six meetings.
- In fact, Spurs have won three consecutive away league games against Crystal Palace for the first time in their history.
Man of the match – Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Crystal Palace’s tricky run continues with the visit of Manchester United at home next Monday, 5 March (20:00 GMT), while Tottenham entertain Rochdale in their FA Cup fifth round replay on Tuesday (19:45 GMT) before returning to the Premier League against Huddersfield at home next Saturday, 3 March (15:00 GMT).