Sunderland were making the early pressure and came close with a free-kick swung in from the left by Jordan Henderson. His cross was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Steed Malbranque, encouraged by the crowd, went for goal. His shot zipped through a crows of bodies where Stephane Sessegnon stuck a leg out to try and divert it past Gomes, but it trickled wide of the right hand post.
It didn’t take long for the home side to convert their early pressure into a lead as Richardson fired a low cross in from the left. Asamoah Gyan controlled it well, taking a touch just outside the six yard box before drilling it into the bottom right-hand corner on the turn to give his side a deserved lead.
Sunderland continued to enjoy a greater proportion of the possession in attacking areas, and were popping passes around the Tottenham midfield with ease. Despite this good football, they struggled to create many goal scoring opportunities and Spurs slowly came back into the game.
Their first chance was wasted by Jermaine Jenas, as he fired a free-kick high over the crossbar from 35 yards. But Roman Pavlychenko managed to break the shackles of his marker as he drifted into the left-hand side of the box. His shot was powerful but always rising as Gordon watched it sail safely over at the near post.
Tottenham levelled just before half-time through a corner kick. It was swung in from the right and Michael Dawson rose above the crowd to head it powerfully at Gordon. Dawson managed to drill the ball towards the turf and Gordon responded poorly as he was nutmegged as the ball bounced home for Spurs.
The second half began with Sunderland fumbling over another Tottenham corner. A poor first attempt by Pienaar only reaches Corluka at the front post who plays it back to the South African who goes for the back post with the second attempt. Sunderland can't clear as Gallas throws a leg at it at the back post before Defoe had a go from close range, it bounced off Gordon who didn’t know a lot about it and Sunderland managed to clear their lines.
Spurs took the lead as they burst through the Sunderland defence on the counter attack. Sandro dashed forward on the right into space before crossing towards Defoe in the middle. This cross was headed clear by Mensah only as far as Niko Kranjcar on the edge of the box who hammered home into the bottom left-hand corner.
Tottenham took control of the game and restricted Sunderland to very few chances from this moment on. Gyan laid the ball off to Richardson with ten minutes to go and his left-foot strike dipped at the last moment to rattle the crossbar.