Things got off to a disastrous start for Tottenham as they found themselves behind after just three minutes. Little surprise that it came from a set-piece - Charlie Adam floated in a free-kick from the right which was met by the hulking figure of Steven Nzonzi. Hugo Lloris was partly to blame however, getting a hand to it but failing to keep it out as Spurs immediately gave themselves an uphill task.
Spurs immediately took to it, however, with Gareth Bale first warming Asmir Begovic's palms with a thirty-yard drive before Clint Dempsey had the ball over the line but saw his effort ruled out after he was found to be fractionally offside. It wasn't too long before Spurs found an equaliser however, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up in the Stoke backline to score a freak goal. Begovic and Marc Wilson both came to clear the same ball, and when it fell to Dempsey, he executed a fine instinctive finish from 35 yards to sent the ball into the abandoned goal and restore parity.
Bale was perhaps guilty of attempting to win the game on his own at times, although he did go close with a free kick from fully 40 yards not long afterwards. Bale continued to pose a threat from set-pieces, although the next time it was his delivery that caused problems, Michael Dawson getting on the end of his cross to send in a header at goal which Begovic did well to push away.
Bale had a great chance to put Spurs in the lead just before the end of the half after a classic run into the area from the right, yet despite being permitted to cut onto his left foot by the Stoke defence, the Welshman opted for the near post, allowing Begovic to save and keep the scores level at the half.
The second half got off to a terrible start for the hosts - Charlie Adam was sent off just two minutes in for a tackle from behind on Jan Vertonghen, which earned him a second yellow card and left Stoke struggling to hold out against the inevitable Tottenham siege. Yet as has happened so often this season, Spurs struggled against the deep Stoke defence as they desperately looked for a way through.
First Clint Dempsey had a good opportunity which he bounced over the bar, before Tom Huddlestone, of all people, dribbled into the area but saw himself denied by Ryan Shawcross. Bale had yet another chance as he swivelled in the area for a right-footed shot, but saw it curl around the post as Spurs got increasingly desperate.
Yet cometh the hour, cometh the man - Emmanuel Adebayor, however, would not have been the man most expected. It was he who found the winning goal, getting on the end of a cutback from Dempsey after some fine work by the American to turn in from close range and give Spurs a huge, huge win.