LONDON • The game was approaching its denouement, with Mauricio Pochettino a picture of agitation on the edge of his technical area, when Tottenham and Harry Kane finally found their reward in yesterday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.
The England striker had been guilty of two glaring misses up to then, but his arching header from Christian Eriksen's 89th-minute corner was enough to beat Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal.
It was Kane's 35th goal of the season, matching his best tally for the club from last term.
Pochettino said: "It was late but we fully deserved it. We had the chances and the performance was good. It wasn't easy to play here against a team that was difficult to break down. This puts us in a good position to fight for top four."
Spurs' relief was matched by the frustration felt by Palace, who appeared to have done enough to hold on to the point.
The win extended Spurs' unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions, their best run in 19 years.
Pochettino made 10 changes to the side that drew with Rochdale in the FA Cup the previous Sunday.
The withdrawal of Jan Vertonghen because of injury meant Eric Dier slotted in alongside Davinson Sanchez in central defence in an otherwise familiar line-up.
By contrast, Roy Hodgson's hand was forced by the absence of 12 senior players, leaving the Crystal Palace manager with few options.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 20, came in at right-back for his senior debut while four of the seven substitutes on the Palace bench were untested in the Premier League.
Palace's makeshift line-up led to a disjointed start that could have put them three down inside 16 minutes, had Spurs made more of a succession of defensive errors.
Kane was uncharacteristically wasteful from eight metres out when Patrick van Aanholt sliced a clearance into his path.
The hosts grew in confidence and, having withstood the early pressure, Palace began to appear increasingly threatening on the counter-attack, without ever managing to test 'keeper Hugo Lloris.
Spurs had a penalty appeal rejected late in the game after Dele Alli went to ground following a clumsy challenge by van Aanholt. But any grievance disappeared as Kane, so often his team's match-winner, delivered once again.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE