Gareth Bale's stunning 90th minute winner left West Ham United heartbroken by Tottenham Hotspur on a pulsating night at the Boleyn Ground on Monday.
The Hammers showed great fight to overturn an early deficit conceded to the Welshman by netting through Andy Carroll and Joe Cole to move into a 2-1 lead not long after the interval.
But, on the night West Ham marked the 20th anniversary of Bobby Moore's death, they couldn't hold on for the win that would have been a fitting tribute to the great No6.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scrambled an equaliser 14 minutes from time before Bale's moment of magic ensured the north Londoners would be taking the points.
Roused by the stirring pre-match tributes to Moore, the Hammers started at a real tempo and fashioned a chance to take the lead on nine minutes when they broke quickly through Carroll and Joe Cole.
Cole threaded a ball through to Matt Jarvis on the left, and the Hammers man ran at Kyle Walker before producing a low shot that Hugo Lloris gathered down by his near post.
But when the visitors launched their next attack four minutes later they made it count through the red-hot Bale, who didn't waste the invitation to shoot when Guy Demel gave the ball straight to him on the edge of the box, drilling across Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the bottom right corner.
11 minutes later Bale had another opportunity to drive at the heart of the Hammers backline when he picked up possession just inside the West Ham half, looked up and saw the space to run into. Fortunately on this occasion his shot lacked the power to trouble Jaaskelainen.
The Hammers found themselves level two minutes later thanks to Carroll's second goal in as many home games. This one came from the spot, with the Big Geordie picking himself off the turf after being fouled by Scott Parker to drill blast emphatically past Lloris.
Six minutes before the interval only a flying block from Walker prevented Jarvis from giving the home side the lead as the right back tracked across superbly after a miscontrol from Steven Caulker gave Joe Cole the chance to loft a pass through.
The momentum was shifting both ways throughout the opening period and Jaaskelainen had to use a strong left hand to stop Caulker's powerful header from a Bale corner a minute before the break.
Spurs looked for a shift in impetus when they introduced Sigurdsson for Lewis Holtby 10 minutes after the break and the move came so close to having the desired impact immediately, as the Icelander shot goalwards from 25 yards, Jaaskelainen tipped onto the post, then sprung up to somehow deny Emmanuel Adebayor on the rebound.
West Ham made full use of the Finn's save by moving in front themselves with 58 minutes on the clock, Joe Cole drifting off Caulker's shoulder to collect a Joey O'Brien pass, turn and fire under Lloris.
Cole's celebration summed up just what the goal meant, as he whipped off his shirt before wheeling away to the Alpari Stand in delight - a feeling shared by the majority of the 35,005 inside the Boleyn Ground.
Spurs responded strongly and Jaaskelainen had to pull off two fantastic saves - from another Caulker header and from a Bale effort heading for the top left corner - to keep the home side in front.
Matt Taylor, on as a first half sub for Kevin Nolan, then found himself in the clear and with a great chance to settle it, but before he knew it Lloris was on top of him with the Frenchman smothering the danger expertly.
The game took another twist 14 minutes from the end when the Hammers conceded a free kick in a dangerous area down their left, Bale delivered and the ball ricocheted around the six-yard box nicely for Sigurdsson to force home.
Jaaskelainen was called upon to make fine saves from Sigurdsson and Adebayor to keep the score at 2-2 as time ticked away, but there was still time for a moment of brilliance from Bale to settle it.
The Welshman has been in almost unstoppable form in recent weeks and he gave the Hammers a taste of what he is all about with a wonderful left footed drive from 25 yards that arrowed into the far corner of the net and left Jaaskelainen helpless.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Pogatetz 72), Collins, Reid, O'Brien; O'Neil, Diame (Collison 84); J.Cole, Nolan (Taylor 35), Jarvis; Carroll
Subs: C.Cole, Vaz Te, Chamakh, Spiegel (GK)
Goals: Carroll pen 25, J.Cole 58
Booked: J.Cole, O'Neil, Diame, Collins
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen; Parker (Livermore 87), Dembele (Carroll 75); Lennon, Bale, Holtby (Sigurdsson 56); Adebayor
Subs: Gallas, Naughton, Friedel (GK), Assou-Ekotto
Goals: Bale 13, Sigurdsson 76, Bale 90
Referee: Howard Webb