Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: Eriksen winner breaks Seagulls' hearts
Rob Newell - CameraSport / Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: Eriksen winner breaks Seagulls' hearts

Christian Eriksen scored two minutes from time to give the Lilywhites a precious win in the battle for a top four place

Neil Leverett
Tottenham Hotspur FCLloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose ; Eriksen, Wanyama (Davies 82'), Alli; Lucas Moura (Janssen 80'), Llorente, Son Heung-min (Foyth 90')
brighton & hove albionRyan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; GroB, Stephens, Bissouma (Kayal 86'), Jahanbakhsh (March 73); Andone (Murray 64'), Locadia
SCOREEriksen (88')
INCIDENTSPremier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, UK

Christian Eriksen snatched a stunning 88th-minute winner for Tottenham Hotspur, as Mauricio Pochettino's men took a big step toward a top four Premier League finish, beating a stubborn Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

On a night of huge frustration until the Dane's late dramatic strike, the Seagulls defensive line - in particular the centre-back pairing of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy - refused to be broken after another dogged showing from the visitors, as they battle against the drop.

Toby Alderweireld had hit the post late on for the hosts, as the Seagulls looked to have earned a hard-fought point, but now must turn their attentions to a clash with Newcastle United on Saturday. 

Hosts frustrated

With the Seagulls claiming a priceless point at Molineux against Wolves at the weekend, few expected anything but a backs-to-the-wall rearguard effort from the visitors, as Chris Hughton's men put down the blue and white shields in the opening half.

As the Lilywhites roared from the whistle, Spurs began tentatively in anticipation of what could have to be a patient evening in north London.

The opening ten minutes saw Brighton already with ten men behind the ball, but slowly the men in white began to find their feet but were left to shy from range in the early stages.

The hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock shortly before the half-way stage in the first half, when Eriksen's effort from the edge of the box was blocked by what essentially was a pile of Brighton bodies in the box.

Miraculously, the ball ricocheted around the Brighton box, but found its' way to Mat Ryan, as the Australian stopper gratefully grasped on the ball.

Spurs continued to grow into the game in just their third home game in new surroundings, but were being continually being met with frustration, as Brighton's Dunk and Duffy continued to be the first man to clear the growing menace from the host's front line.

Brighton were somewhat clinging on, but on a rare occasion broke away, as Florin Andone scampered forward. The Romanian forward however ran out of legs and was caught by Spurs' retreating back line.

The visitors came inches away from taking an unlikely lead, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh cross form the right was almost met by Andone again, but the Seagulls' striker could not reach the low delivery but the slenderest of margins.

Spurred on by their near escape, Duffy was then called on on two occasions before the interval, as the Irishman first cleared from danger to prevent a tap-in at the far post for Lucas, before both he and Ryan then worked in tandem to block away Dele Alli's goal-bound shot.

Brighton had come for the vital point that could guarantee their survivial for another season, and referee Chris Kavanagh blew for the break, the Seagulls were half-way to their metaphorical goal.

Embed from Getty Images

Stubborn seagulls

Spurs came out on resumption bent on taking the fight to the opposition, however it was Hughton's men that could have themselves snatched an opener.

After a long ball forward it was Duffy - instrumental in keeping out the hosts for the opening period - who found space in the area after a surging run from deep, but could only head his effort straight at Hugo Lloris from an angle.

At the other end for an increasingly anxious hosts, Victor Wanyama and man of the moment Son Heung-min both hand opening but spurned their chances.

Desperate Lilywhites

Ryan in truth had had a largely comfortable night but as the game entered the final quarter, but the hosts then ramped up the tempo dial. 

Danny Rose's swerving, dipping right-footed drive from the edge of the box forced Ryan into a smart save, and as he palmed high into the night's sky, as the Seagulls 'keeper greatly clutched the dropping ball.

Then Spurs came within a lick of paint to grabbing a priceless lead, as Alderweireld's slid-shot from 18 yards evaded the stubborn Seagulls' defence, only for the ball to cannon of the post and away to safety the other side, as Son's follow-up was blocked away. 

Ryan was then again busy saving low, and again parrying the shot, Dunk was on hand to smash the errant ball clear.

Embed from Getty Images

Eriksen breaks visiting hearts

With time ticking away and with Brighton beginning to sense a chance to snatch the points, it was Spurs' Danish talisman who snatched a late winner.

As Brighton retreated farther and farther into their own half and indeed penalty area, Spurs found space on the right and the ball fell to the feet of Eriksen. As the midfielder took in-field. Eriksen found a yard of space, struck a sweet left-volley drive low and past the forlorn Ryan, as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium erupted into a cacophony of noise.

The Seagulls' players collectively sunk to their knees, just minutes from what would have been a vital point in their fight to avoid the drop. Brighton then flew forward in their own desperation to grab an unlikely equaliser, but substitutes Biram Kayal and Solly March both failed to capitalise on openings.

The final whistle blew to rapturous celebrations from the home fans who claimed what could be a massive three points in the race for a top four finish. For Brighton, still just three points separate themselves and the chasing Cardiff City, as Hughton's men entertain his former employers Newcastle United at the weekend.