Just 24 hours after being paired with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, Spurs’ chances of qualifying for next year’s competition took a big blow despite dominating for large parts of the match.
Michael Dawson, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon all rattled the woodwork and Jermain Defoe was guilty of missing several good opportunities to break the deadlock, while West Ham stopper Robert Green performed superbly.
It is the sixth time that Spurs have failed to take all three points following a Champions League game and last week’s aggregate win over Milan now seems a distant memory.
The result means Tottenham trail Chelsea by two points ahead of their match against Manchester City while a rejuvenated West Ham are now out of the relegation zone.
Hope was high for Spurs before kick off after Bale was passed fit to make his first start in two months while Harry Redknapp sprung a surprise by dropping Peter Crouch for Defoe, who was looking to score his 100th Spurs goal.
Avram Grant recalled Demba Ba and handed Lars Jacobsen the task of shackling Bale at right-back.
The Hammers went in to the match looking for their first win at White Hart Lane since April 1999 when Redknapp was in the opposition dugout.
Three minutes had elapsed when Dawson picked up a Modric pass and rattled the bar with a superb curling effort.
Bale then cut a low cross inside the box for Defoe, who flicked a shot inches wide of Green’s far post to deny the former West Ham man.
West Ham continued to struggle as Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart both went close before Demba Ba slid Carlton Cole through against the run of play, but the former Chelsea man’s weak shot was easily gathered by Heurelho Gomes.
Modric’s trickery allowed him to sneak past his marker soon after but the 20-yard shot he aimed at goal slipped a matter of centimetres past Green’s right-hand post.
With five minutes of the first half left, Lennon struck a post after racing down the right but the rebound off the woodwork caught Defoe by surprise and the striker’s improvised six-yard effort went two yards wide of goal with Green stranded at the near post.
Carlton Cole turned William Gallas on the edge of the box and drew a good one-handed save from Heurelho Gomes at the start of the second period as West Ham looked to shock the hosts with an early strike.
Noble then drew the fury of the home bench after sliding in let with a two-footed challenge on Bale. Referee Mike Dean gave the midfielder a yellow card.
Green kept the scores level with a quick reaction save with his legs from Defoe’s six-yard stab after Redknapp chose to switch Bale and Lennon.
Gary O’Neil tricked his way past Benoit Assou-Ekotto and his cross flew into Noble’s path but his overhead kick flew a foot wide.
Cole’s mis-timed challenge saw him plunge his studs into Sandro’s shin. The Brazilian needed treatment but returned to the pitch soon after and the striker was booked.
West Ham performed much better in the second half and looked far more comfortable on the ball.
Cole had an appeal for a penalty turned down on the hour after Dawson appeared to push the striker as he went up for a header.
Ba then unleashed a 25-yard piledriver that Gomes saved magnificently with a diving one-handed save.
Pavlyuchenko fluffed a chance to put Tottenham ahead from eight yards, but then almost immediately made up for his failure, drawing a top save from Green with a 25-yard drive.
Upson hacked down Modric on the edge of the box with six minutes left, handing the hosts a good opportunity to snatch the win.
Bale stepped up and bent a left-foot shot destined for the top corner that Green somehow tipped onto the bar. The ball dropped down and Jacobsen hooked clear, much to the visitors’ relief.
Pavlyuchenko played Defoe in with two minutes left but he blasted high and wide before Modric did the same in the last minute of injury time.