Norwich City held Tottenham Hotspur to what could be a very costly 1-1 draw at Carrow Road, putting in one of their better performances of 2013 in a match where the visitors were lucky to grab a late equaliser via Gareth Bale.
The opening spell wasn't particularly interesting, and although the Canaries held their own against their more illustrious guests they weren't really generating much in the way of genuine chances. That changed after the half hour mark thanks to some great play from Grant Holt, who did superbly to ensure Robert Snodgrass's long cross stayed in play, knocking the ball back to Anthony Pilkington.
With the Spurs defence chasing back to defend the initial ball in, that left both Pilkington and Hoolahan free in the middle of the box, and a square ball for the latter meant an easy finish past Hugo Lloris and in for a 32nd-minute lead. Norwich came close to doubling their lead just afterwards when they let Russell Martin clear through on their right flank, but Kyle Walker managed to scramble the ball free just before the right back's cross could find Alexander Tettey.
Jermain Defoe then wasted a chance to get Tottenham back into the match when Aaron Lennon's clever pass set him clear through on goal only for the striker to fire straight at Mark Bunn. Andre Villas-Boas, watching his side struggle, had little option but to introduce new signing Lewis Holtby, who had an instant impact in his 20 minutes on the pitch.
But it was Bale who ultimately provided the spark that the visitors needed. With Norwich pressed high up the pitch, Defoe found the winger with a layoff, and Bale sprinted straight through the Canaries defensive line -- despite Sebastian Bassong trying to yank him over -- and then unleashed a wonderful effort from just inside the penalty box to draw Spurs level in the 80th minute.
By now the visitors were well on top, and Gylfi Sigurdsson very nearly put them into the lead with a fizzing long-range strike which Bunn did very well to palm clear. There was no time for a winner, however, and Tottenham were forced to settle for what looks like it could be a costly draw. They're still in fourth place, but Everton are now closing in...