Heung-Min Son’s 90th minute winner extended Tottenham’s top-four safety cushion to four points after a dramatic 2-1 win away at Watford. Spurs now find themselves four points clear of fifth-placed Crystal Palace, with sixth-placed Manchester United playing later.
Neither side was able to stamp their mark on the game during a tepid opening quarter of an hour and only a stroke of luck allowed Tottenham to take the lead.
As the last man, a poor touch on the half way line in the 18th minute from Craig Cathcart allowed Erik Lamela to stride, unhindered, towards goal. Harry Kane’s parallel run drew the closest defender away and the in-form Argentine was able to calmly sweep the ball past Heurelho Gomes.
And Lamela nearly doubled his and Tottenham’s tally a minute later but, unmarked just inside the box, he could only place his shot wide of the mark.
Watford’s dangerman Odion Ighalo tried to craft a reply for the Hornets ten minutes later, although his snapshot flew just past Hugo Lloris’ post. But the Nigerian’s presence continued to cause Tottenham’s defence problems and when Troy Deeney looped a 43rd minute header into the box, he was able to control the ball under Eric Dier’s challenge before spinning away from the Englishman and slotting his 14th goal of the season under Lloris from a yard out. And to compound the half time misery for Tottenham, an injury forced Mousa Dembele to be substituted just seconds before both sides went in level at the break.
Harry Kane came close to restoring Tottenham’s lead after 58 minutes but, under pressure from Miguel Britos, he could only head Kieran Tripper’s cross wide of Gomes’ goal.
Constant tough tackling from Watford had already earned their side two yellow cards since the start of the second half and Nathan Ake’s determination to intercept a 63rd minute, Lamela-bound throw in saw him catch the Argentine studs up on his thigh. With just a few seconds hesitation, Anthony Taylor showed him the red card and reduced Watford to ten men.
With the game still hanging in the balance, Watford opted to sit back and allow Tottenham to slowly build up their play inside the Hornets’ half. Christian Eriksen slid Heung-Min Son in behind the defence with 12 minutes left but, as Spurs fans once became accustomed to seeing, Gomes was off his line quickly to thwart the danger.
Towards the end, three Watford corners in quick succession put Tottenham under the cosh, and Watson’s header with just two minutes left was saved and cleared on the line by Hugo Lloris. Despite huge calls from Watford fans for the goal to be given, the goal-line decision system ruled it had stayed out by a matter of centimetres.
With an angry crowd whipping up the atmosphere, Tottenham charged down to the other end of the pitch. Gomes punched Kieran Tripper’s 90th minute cross back to him and the England full back was able to volley in another dangerous ball.
Directed straight at a loitering Heung-Min Son with his back to goal at the near post, the South Korean managed to flick the ball with his heel between the legs of the keeper to hand Tottenham the advantage with just a minute remaining.
But Spurs fans were left unable to celebrate a win just yet.
When a 92nd minute throw in was flicked on to Troy Deeney just outside of Tottenham’s six-yard box only a heroic, body on the line block from Eric Dier prevented the striker from pulling Watford level and allow Tottenham to see out their victory.
At the close of play Tottenham found themselves in third place, just a point behind Arsenal and three behind top side Leicester. Come the end of the season, Heung-Min Son’s late goal could well prove to be one of the most important in Tottenham’s history.