John Terry played his part in an entertaining encounter as Chelsea survived an early Tottenham onslaught to earn a point at White Hart Lane.
Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas had no hesitation in selecting his captain 24 hours after Terry discovered he was being charged with racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
And despite being subjected to taunts throughout from Spurs supporters, the defender won prolonged backing from the visiting fans before throwing his shirt to them at the final whistle.
Emmanuel Adebayor gave the hosts an early lead as Harry Redknapp's side threatened to overrun Chelsea in their pursuit of Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Manchester United.
The Blues stood firm and recovered to equalise through Daniel Sturridge before half-time - and were left frustrated as Didier Drogba struck the woodwork shortly after they levelled, then Ramires wasted two perfect opportunities in the second half.
Tottenham also posed a threat throughout, with Adebayor having a goal ruled out for a marginal offside decision and Gareth Bale and William Gallas also squandering opportunities.
Inevitably, it was left to Terry to have the final word as he blocked Adebayor's shot on the line in the dying seconds to ensure Chelsea earned a deserved draw.
The deadlock was not the ideal outcome for either side, but the result was fair. Spurs now stand seven points behind second-placed United with a game in hand, while Chelsea lie fourth.
Terry's name was met with a predictable chorus of jeering from the home fans as it was read out before kick-off, but Chelsea's supporters responded with loud backing for the England captain.
Spurs were delighted to be able to recall Bale after an ankle injury and it took only eight minutes for his importance to be graphically illustrated as he created the opening goal for Adebayor.
He ended a trademark surge down the left with a low cross that provoked a moment of hesitation from visiting keeper Petr Cech as he dived into the challenge with Adebayor, allowing the Togo striker to score.
Tottenham's pace and movement, particularly from Bale, saw Chelsea penned in and starved of possession, with manager Villas-Boas an agitated figure in his technical area.
The away side drew level against the run of play when Ashley Cole's cross was allowed to find Sturridge right in front of goal for a simple finish past the exposed Brad Friedel.
Chelsea were understandably encouraged by the lift of a goal and Drogba almost turned affairs around completely with a thunderous half-volley that crashed against the woodwork with Friedel well beaten.
Spurs had lost some of their early momentum but the Blues had to adapt as they lost Branislav Ivanovic and Jon Obi Mikel to injury before the break, with Paulo Ferreira and Oriol Romeu the replacements.
Redknapp was also deprived of a key figure for the restart as Rafael van der Vaart succumbed to a hamstring injury, giving Roman Pavlyuchenko another chance after scoring the winner against Sunderland at the weekend.
In spite of the changes, Chelsea made the better start after the interval as Friedel was forced to save twice in the space of seconds, first from Ramires as he raced through and then from Terry's header as he met the resulting corner.
Adebayor had the ball in the net again just before the hour, only to see the effort ruled out after the tightest of offside calls.
Spurs had been unable to get their main midfield orchestrator Luka Modric into the game in the manner they had at the start, but he almost made an impact from a set-piece as Sandro glanced a header wide.
Chelsea were not backing away from the battle though and Friedel was in action once more to clutch Sturridge's low shot at the second attempt, much to the frustration of the increasingly animated Villas-Boas.
As an entertaining encounter entered the last 10 minutes, Bale wasted an opportunity to restore Spurs' lead when he shot well over after being released by Modric's clever touch inside the area.
Cech then clawed away Sandro's deflected shot and Gallas turned Bale's cross inches wide at the near post as the hosts tried to regain their earlier supremacy.
The best chance came and went for Chelsea with four minutes left when Juan Mata's free-kick found Ramires completely unmarked in front of goal eight yards out, only for the Brazilian to direct a desperately poor header wide.
And, in a dramatic conclusion, Terry saved a point for Villas-Boas's side when he blocked Adebayor's shot on the line.