Tottenham Hotspur striker Clint Dempsey (L) celebrates his late equalising goal against Manchester United during their Premier League tie at White Hart Lane on Sunday.Photo: AFP
A stoppage-time goal by Clint Dempsey saw Tottenham Hotspur snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United on Sunday that prevented the Premier League leaders from restoring their seven-point lead.
United had taken the lead through Robin van Persie in the 25th minute and looked set to hold on for a narrow victory until Dempsey scrambled the ball home from close range in injury time at a snow-sprinkled White Hart Lane.
The result means that second-place Manchester City are now five points behind United, while Spurs finish the weekend trailing third-place Chelsea by four points and leading Everton by the same distance.
It was only the fifth time this season that Alex Ferguson's side have failed to take maximum points from a league game and they have taken just a point from Spurs, who prevailed 3-2 at Old Trafford in September.
Persistent snowfall in north London had put the fixture in jeopardy, but the game survived a pitch inspection 70 minutes prior to kick-off and as the game got under way, the snow had started to ease.
Spurs looked to take the initiative, Dempsey seeing a volley blocked by Nemanja Vidic and the recalled Scott Parker shooting over from 22 yards, but United threatened first when van Persie headed straight at Hugo Lloris.
United started the game with Wayne Rooney on the bench but there is always danger when van Persie is around and in the 25th minute the Dutchman struck for the 10th time in as many league games to put the visitors ahead.
Danny Welbeck drifted in from the left before spraying the ball wide to England colleague Tom Cleverley, and his curling cross was headed in at the back post by the leaping van Persie.
Spurs resumed their assault on the United goal but both Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale were thwarted by agile saves from De Gea, who readjusted well to block the Welshman's deflected shot shortly before half-time.
A clear sight of goal arrived for the hosts in the 78th minute, but when Lennon sent Defoe clear, his former West Ham United team-mate Rio Ferdinand slid in from nowhere to prevent an equaliser with a vital block.
It seemed Spurs were destined to leave empty-handed, but with the final whistle beckoning, Dempsey thrashed a loose ball into the bottom-left corner to give United's pursuers a glimmer of hope in the title race.