A furious Joe Kinnear gave his Wimbledon players a dressing-down after this defeat as Tottenham dealt their European aspirations a severe blow.
Jason Dozzell's 81st-minute header from Andy Sinton's cross condemned the Dons to their third defeat in six games and prompted Kinnear to say: "If we don't get three points against Aston Villa in midweek, you can say goodbye to the top six. We didn't play anywhere near our capabilities. Every cross seemed to find Ian Walker."
Wimbledon face Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final at Highbury next Sunday and the match clearly monopolised their thoughts. "There are three or four players who are deciding that Chelsea is the important game, and I am not accepting that and I told them in no uncertain terms," Kinnear said.
"If they take that attitude, they won't be playing against Chelsea. What is creeping into the last three games is that we are conceding dire goals."
Victory was no more than Spurs deserved as they were the better team throughout and should not have had to rely on Dozzell's effort after twice hitting the woodwork and having two goals disallowed for offside.
The Spurs manager, Gerry Francis, for once started the day with some good news on the injury front with three England internationals passing late fitness tests. But while Ian Walker, Teddy Sheringham and Sol Campbell all played, Darren Anderton's continuing injury problems kept him on the sidelines.
They finally earned the goal they deserved nine minutes from time with Dozzell glancing in a header from Andy Sinton's cross. Francis said: "It's not been the best of times for Jason. Lots of players go through hard times with supporters, and they just have to try and win them over. We will be offering him a new contract. But he does have the option to go abroad."
Goal: Dozzell ((81) 1-0.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Austin, Scales, Campbell, Edinburgh; Fox, Nielsen, Dozzell, Sinton; Sheringham, Rosenthal. Substitutes not used: Calderwood, Nethercott, Carr, Allen, Baardsen (gk).
Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Blackwell, Perry, Kimble; Ardley (Goodman, 87), Earle, Jones, Leonhardsen; Holdsworth, Gayle. Substitutes not used: McAllister, Harford, Fear, Heald (gk).
Referee: K W Burge (Tonypandy).
Man of the match: Dozzell.