But Theo Walcott’s first goal in nearly two years and James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time penalty salvaged a vital point for Southampton.
Pedro Porro’s thumping finish had opened the scoring and his account for Tottenham in first-half stoppage time.
Southampton responded within a minute of the restart as Che Adams turned in Walcott’s cross.
Speculation continues to surround Harry Kane’s future, but it has not affected the England captain’s form as he rose highest to head in his 21st Premier League goal of the season from Dejan Kulusevski’s cross.
Ivan Perisic’s strike from the edge of the box then gave Spurs a two-goal cushion.
Yet, even that was not enough for Antonio Conte’s men.
Walcott side-footed home to set up a grandstand finish and Pape Sarr was then penalised for bringing down Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Tottenham ‘keeper Fraser Forster could not deny his former teammate Ward-Prowse to leave Spurs just two points ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle having played two games more.
– Nine-man Wolves tamed –
Leeds moved out of the relegation zone after beating fellow strugglers Wolves in a six-goal thriller at Molineux.
The visitors had won just once in their last 13 league games but stormed into a 3-0 lead.
Jack Harrison fired Javi Gracia’s men in front before rare goals for right-backs Luke Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen had appeared to put Leeds out of sight.
Wolves had scored just 10 goals in 13 previous league games at home this season.
But two in eight minutes gave them hope as Jonny and Matheus Cunha cut the arrears.
However, Wolves ended the game with 10 men as Jonny was sent off for a dangerous studs-up tackle on Ayling.
Rodrigo wrapped up the three points which lift Leeds into 14th.
Matheus Nunes, an unused Wolves substitute, was also shown a red card as the hosts were angered by the referee’s decision to award the goal despite being sent to the pitchside monitor to check a shirt pull on Adama Traore in the build-up.
Aston Villa’s fine form under Unai Emery continued as Bournemouth were beaten 3-0 at Villa Park.
Douglas Luiz turned home Leon Bailey’s low cross to give the home side the perfect start.
Jacob Ramsey then sealed the Cherries’ fate 10 minutes from time before Emiliano Buendia added a third.
Victory lifts Villa above Chelsea into 10th and within four points of the European places.
Brentford missed the chance to go above Liverpool into sixth as they were held 1-1 at home by Leicester.
Harvey Barnes cancelled out Mathias Jensen’s opener as Leicester edged a point clear of the bottom three.
Everton are also just one point above the drop zone, but have the chance to pull further clear of trouble when they visit a resurgent Chelsea later on Saturday.