Stoke earned a vital point in their push for European football after holding Tottenham to a goalless draw at White Hart Lane.

The Potters have struggled for form on the road this season, winning just once in nine games on their travels, but their performance in North London gave great credence to their Europa League ambitions.

Spurs, meanwhile, passed up the chance to move up to third in the Premier League table  and struggled to break down a mean visiting defence that has conceded just 13 goals in 18 games this season.

Gareth Bales return from injury was a timely boost for manager Andre Villas-Boas but the Welsh winger barely had time to settle back into his left wing berth before the visitors had threatened to draw first blood.

An ill-judged pass across his own penalty area from Kyle Walker gifted Kenwyne Jones a chance that he blazed high over the bar and set the tone for a lethargic first 45 minutes from the home side.

Despite perking up after the break their sprightly display wasn’t enough to break down the Stoke rearguard and they were restricted to half chances for much of the second period.

Jermain Defoe smashed an effort into stands just 60 seconds after the restart before Bale headed Aaron Lennon’s deep cross over after swapping flanks with the England wide man.

Some encouraging link up play between Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor showed their partnership is starting to take shape and the former fired another shot just wide of Asmir Begovic’s goal.

Tottenham continued to labour in attack and Mousa Dembele saw the sting taken out of his strike on its way into Begovic’s grasp before substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson went close with a glancing header in the last minute.

 

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