Tottenham 4 Leicester 4
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Scarcely two weeks after Manchester City's improbable 4-3 FA Cup triumph it must have felt like Groundhog Day for Tottenham fans with two minutes remaining as ten-man Leicester City led 4-3 after an incredible and improbable fightback.
However, former West Ham star Defoe produced an emphatic finish for his second of the game to ensure the hosts took something from a rollercoaster ride of a game in North London.
It was The Foxes who had the first attempt of note when Kasey Keller blocked Paul Dickov from close range after the Scottish striker had wriggled past Dean Richards and Gary Doherty to create space just four minutes in.
However, the deadlock was broken moments later as Ian Walker's nightmarish recent spell continued. The Spurs old boy allowed Michael Brown's speculative 25-yard free kick to bounce through him at his near post to hand his former employers a soft advantage.
Leicester levelled in equally farcical circumstances after a bizarre own goal from Doherty. The Republic of Ireland international allowed Walker's long clearance to bounce over his head and, as he attempted to clear it ahead of Dickov, only succeeded in firing past a stunned Keller who - despite getting a hand on it - could not prevent the ball from looping in.
Spurs reassumed the lead with the third goal in just six minutes. Simon Davies flicked Robbie Keane's pass into the path of Defoe's diagonal run, and the former West Ham hit-man outpaced Nikos Dabizas to clinically drive the ball past Walker and into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
David Pleat's men then gave themselves a cushion when Gerry Taggart was penalised for a back pass shortly before the half hour mark. From the resultant free kick Johnnie Jackson saw his drive blocked but the ball squirmed out to Keane who drilled home a low shot for his seventh goal in seven games.
Micky Adams' men gave themselves renewed hope five minutes after the restart as yet more kamikaze defending cost the hosts dear. Under no apparent pressure Jackson got the ball caught under his feet allowing Steffen Freund to poke into the path of Les Ferdinand who rifled home instantly from 20 yards.
The White Hart Lane crowd drew a collective sigh of relief just before the hour mark as James Scowcroft's header drifted narrowly wide from Riccardo Scimeca's inviting cross, but the writing was on the wall.
The Foxes' cause was severely undermined 20 minutes from time when Scowcroft was harshly dismissed after catching Mauriccio Taricco following a 50-50 challenge.
But incredibly the visitors did restore parity despite when yet another ex-Spurs man, Ben Thatcher, timed his run perfectly to power home a header from Steve Guppy's right-flank corner much to the incredulity of the home fans.
Incredulity turned to despair four minutes later as Doherty's suicidal back-pass allowed Dickov to nip in ahead of Keller, the ball broke kindly for substitute Marcus Bent who coolly dispatched the ball under the goalkeeper and into the unguarded net.
But with the roars of discontent ringing in the home players' ears Ledley King picked out Defoe with a precise cross, and the England Under-21 international thundered home left footed off the underside of the bar to cap off a hugely entertaining afternoon.