Substitute Heung-Min Son scored an 89th-minute winner as Tottenham Hotspur beat 10-man Watford at Vicarage Road to end 2015 on a high.
The South Korea star beat former Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with a cheeky backheel following Kieran Trippier’s volleyed cross, moments after goal-line technology showed that Watford had come within centimetres of taking the lead at the other end.
Spurs had earlier broken the deadlock on 17 minutes, thanks to Erik Lamela, who finished off a counter-attack that began when Craig Cathcart was dispossessed on the halfway line.
Odion Ighalo equalised for the Hornets by scoring for the sixth game running just before half time.
Spurs were handed a big boost just after the hour mark, when Watford left-back Nathan Ake was sent off for a horrible tackle on Lamela.
However, Watford coped very well with 10 men and Son’s winner was slightly more than Spurs deserved.
Nevertheless, Spurs should be delighted to register their third win in a row, especially as it moves them up to third place in the Premier League table.
Read on for Tottenham player ratings…
Erik Lamela punishes Watford error to put Spurs on course for perfect Christmas (video)
Odion Ighalo extends scoring run, exposes awful Spurs defending (video)
Son Heung-Min goal video v Watford: Delicate flick snatches Tottenham points in dramatic finish
GK: Hugo Lloris – 5/10
Should have dominated his six-yard box better in the build-up to Ighalo’s equaliser.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 7/10
Impressive on his first Premier League start for Spurs. Seems to possess a much better delivery than the equally-energetic Kyle Walker, who was understandably rested.
LB: Danny Rose – 6/10
Deployed – like Trippier – as more of a wing-back today, as Spurs lined up with three central defenders in a bid to cope with Watford’s traditional 4-4-2. Rose spent most of the second half camped in Watford’s half, but his final ball let him down.
CB: Toby Alderweireld – 7/10
Kept Watford’s deadly duo of Ighalo and Troy Deeney quiet for the majority of the game.
CB: Eric Dier – 5/10
Dier has been brilliant as an anchor man all season. He didn’t seem quite as happy at centre-back, and he should not have been beaten in the air so easily by Ighalo moments before the Hornets hitman scored.
CB: Jan Vertonghen – 7/10
Seemed very comfortable on the left side of Tottenham’s three-man defensive unit.
CM: Mousa Dembele – 7/10
One of the best players on the pitch until he limped off on 44 minutes. Dembele was replaced by Christian Eriksen (5/10), who did little to prove that Mauricio Pochettino was wrong to leave him out of the starting XI.
CM: Tom Carroll – 6/10
Hustled well. Was neat and tidy throughout his 68-miute outing, before making way for Heung-Min Son (7/10), who showed fantastic improvisation to notch the winner right at the death.
AM: Erik Lamela – 8/10
Took his eighth goal of the season very well and looked a genuine attacking threat throughout.
AM: Dele Alli – 7/10
Ran further than any other player on the pitch during the 81 minutes he was on. The 19-year-old made way for Nacer Chadli (5/10), who didn’t really get into the game.
ST: Harry Kane – 7/10
Showed good composure to set up Lamela for the game’s opening goal. Worked hard as ever, but appeared tired as the second half wore on.