Stoke lived up to their billing as one of the best defensive units around as they put in a stubborn display to emerge with a goalless draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Spurs could have gone third in the Barclays Premier League with a win, but the visitors proved too hard to break down thanks to a predictably tough display from Tony Pulis' side.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas and his assistant Steffen Freund regularly complained at the physicality of the Potters, who had four players booked during the match. But the draw was more to do with the imperious performances of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth than any perceived bully-boy tactics.
Villas-Boas had described the Potters defence as one of the best in Europe on Thursday and his assessment proved correct as the strong duo kept Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe quiet for almost the entire match.
Gareth Bale, returning to the Tottenham side after his hamstring injury, went close with a second-half header, as did Gylfi Sigurdsson in added-time, but Stoke, who have kept nine clean sheets this season, have now gone eight matches unbeaten for the first time since the Premier League began.
Stoke made a bright start, stifling the home side in the first five minutes amid a quiet atmosphere inside White Hart Lane. Just 45 seconds had gone before Kyle Walker fed a hospital pass straight in to the path of Kenwyne Jones, but he lost his balance and could only shoot over.
Stoke had all the early play, but Hugo Lloris remained untested in the Spurs goal. Bale fired in a low cross, but the imperious Huth hooked the ball clear before Defoe could get to the ball. Jan Vertonghen's deflected shot flew in to Asmir Begovic's hands, while Bale put in a trademark run to beat his marker, but Shawcross cleared before Defoe could tap in.
The Welshman charged at the Stoke defence 60 seconds later and this time found his target at the back post, but Adebayor could only head over. Spurs started to take control of the match and went close to breaking the deadlock just before the break through Mousa Dembele, who fired half a yard over the bar.
Just over 30 seconds of the second half had elapsed before Andy Wilkinson saw yellow for a foul on Aaron Lennon. Spurs had their best chance of the game so far when Bale leapt to meet Lennon's cross, but he could only head over.
Bale and substitute Sigurdsson drove at the Stoke defence, but they had to shoot from distance as the away side looked to close out the game. Bale went down in the box, but Lee Mason waved play on. Seconds in to the four minutes of added time Sigurdsson had a chance to win it, but Begovic pulled off a world-class save.