Substitute Daryl Murphy scored his first Premiership goal to salvage a point for bottom-placed Sunderland.
Sunderland have still yet to win at home this season
With two minutes remaining Murphy got the better of Paul Stalteri and drilled a low shot past Paul Robinson.
Spurs had gone ahead on 38 minutes in a well-worked move when Jermain Defoe's cross was tucked in by Robbie Keane.
Prior to Murphy's goal Sunderland's best chance had come from a Jon Stead cross just past the hour, while late on Jermaine Jenas came close with a shot.
Spurs will be kicking themselves that they were unable to hold on for the win given the excellence of the performance of their central defenders Michael Dawson and Ledley King.
Dawson and King played so well that Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson did not have a serious save to make in the entire game.
But Stalteri proved less robust in allowing Murphy to get the better of them.
In a promising opening for Sunderland midfielder Liam Lawrence created several attacking chances.
Dawson bravely headed clear a hanging cross from Lawrence, who then tried his luck with a deflected shot, which Robinson comfortably gathered.
Lawrence almost released Jon Stead with a clever pass inside Yong-Pyo Lee, but King was quickly across to clear the danger.
Just past the half-hour Spurs forced Kelvin Davis to make two saves as the visitors began to threaten the Sunderland goal.
A one-two between Lee and Robbie Keane allowed the Republic of Ireland striker to hit a half-volley that forced Davis into action for the first time.
The Sunderland goalkeeper then had to get down quickly to grasp an Aaron Lennon effort after the Spurs winger moved in from the flanks.
But seven minutes before the interval Davis proved unable to cut out Defoe's cross from the right allowing Keane to roll home the ball into the net.
Defoe had been released by a superb pass by Michael Carrick, who again impressed in the Spurs midfield.
Just past the hour Sunderland should have equalised when Stead's low cross evaded Robinson, but Lawrence was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Stead delivered another good cross, this time in the air, which was superbly headed clear by King under pressure from Kyle.
Spurs manager Martin Jol then replaced Edgar Davids with Murphy, who within five minutes of his making his debut picked up a booking.
Soon after Murphy's introduction Mido came on for Spurs, the Egyptian striker playing for Jol for the first time since his return from the African Nations Cup.
But neither of those two Spurs substitutes were able to replicate the impact Murphy had, the young Irishman's strength allowing him to outmuscle Stalteri and then slip the ball past Robinson.
Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy:
"I think justice was done with the result, we played well enough for a point.
"Daryl has been knocking on the door for a game and he's done it for us.
Reflecting on the late chance Jermaine Jenas missed for Spurs, McCarthy added: "That would have put the final nail in my coffin - but it didn't go in."
Spurs manager Martin Jol:
"I think we did OK but we should have killed them off. We didn't play well enough to score two or three goals but we did score one.
"If you don't kill them off they are always capable of scoring against you. On a pitch like that Sunderland had nothing to lose.
"We have to learn and we have to grow up."