Gareth Bale scored a goal of the season contender as his second of the night in the dying seconds condemned West Ham to a 3-2 defeat in a pulsating Premier League dust-up at Upton Park.
West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a series of exceptional saves throughout the evening that looked like giving Sam Allardyce's side a point until on-fire Wales international Bale sent the ball crashing high beyond him from 30 yards.
It was a quite breathtaking effort from Bale that ensured his team all three points which carry them two points above fourth-placed Chelsea in the standings.
He had handed Spurs the lead on 13 minutes only for West Ham to recover as an Andy Carroll penalty (26) and a lovely Joe Cole finish (58) saw the home team move 2-1 clear before substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson - on for Lewis Holtby on 56 minutes - came off the bench to scramble home his first goal for Spurs on 76 minutes and set up a grandstand finish.
It would be difficult to argue that Spurs were not worthy of the win, but it is also hard not to feel sorry for Jaaskelainen after he produced a towering performance to keep Spurs out as Bale threatened to run riot at times. West Ham are 14th in the standings on 30 points, but should not feel too sore about their output after contributing heartily to some enthralling entertainment on a freezing night.
The win sets up Andre Villas-Boas's side nicely before they host Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday. A win could see them move seven points clear of their fierce rivals in pursuit of a top-four spot.
If Bale maintains this level of form, you would hardly envy the task Arsene Wenger's side have on their hands.
Bale has now netted 15 league goals of the season, drawing level with Michu. Only Robin van Persie (19) and Luis Suarez (18) have more than the rampaging midfielder, who is operating more like an extra striker these days.
West Ham began the night brightly only to fall behind when Bale was allowed far too much space outside of the home area.
Bale turned quickly before sending the ball calmly beyond Jaaskelainen as a despairing dive to his left could not prevent the shot from rolling into the net.
West Ham levelled 13 minutes later when former West Ham midfielder Scott Parker lunged into an ill-advised challenge on Carroll after Kevin Nolan had played supplier.
Referee Howard Webb called it correctly before Carroll picked himself up to send Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot.
West Ham lost Nolan to injury around the half-hour mark as he was replaced by Matt Taylor, but they continued to press the visiting side as Kyle Walker raced back to make a fine block from Matt Jarvis's shot.
Spurs showed their menace before half-time as Jaaskelainen clawed out a header from Steven Caulker on 41 minutes before Bale sent a free-kick inches wide from distance with the last kick of the half.
A similar theme continued at the outset of the second half as Jaaskelainen halted another Caulker header from Bale's corner with another notable stop.
Emmanuel Adeyabor should have given Tottenham the lead on 57 minutes when he headed straight into the arms of Jaaskelainen after the West Ham goalkeeper had touched Sigurdsson's hit from long range onto a post.
Spurs were made to pay for their profligacy when Cole eluded Jan Vertonghen before taking one touch to control Joey O'Brien's ball and another one to finish as the home team moved 2-1 clear.
Cole ripped off his jersey as it looked like West Ham would mark the 20th anniversary of the death of their former World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore with a famous win.
But Bale had other ideas despite the best intentions of Finnish goalkeeper Jaaskelainen.
The alert Lloris raced from his line to halt a shot from Matt Taylor after he had beaten the offside trap.
But the Frenchman was severely underworked compared to Jaaskelainen, who made a string of staggering stops to deny Caulker, Adebayor and Bale twice after a wicked free-kick from Bale was scrambled over the line by Sigurdsson via a post for the equaliser with West Ham failing to clear.
The best was yet to come from Bale, who is suddenly performing at a level that is not far off the magic which Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can produce in La Liga and the Champions League.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gareth Bale: Tottenham - What can you say that has not already been said? Two quite brilliant goals. Sam Allardyce valued him between £40-50 million before this match. He would be cheap at that price.
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen 9, Reid 6, Nolan 5, Jarvis 7, Carroll 7, O'Brien 7, Collins 6, Demel 6, Diame 6, J.Cole 8, O'Neil 7. Subs: Collison 6, Taylor 8, Pogatetz 6.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 7, Vertonghen 6, Lennon 6, Parker 7, Adebayor 5, Bale 10, Dembele 6, Dawson 7, Holtby 5, Walker 7, Caulker 7. Subs: Sigurdsson 7, Livermore 6, T Carroll 7.