A Gareth Bale wonder strike gave Tottenham Hotspur a dramatic late winner as they came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-2 in a pulsating London derby.

The in-form winger produced a moment of sheer brilliance at Upton Park with a 30-yard strike that fizzed past the seemingly unbeatable Jaaskerlainen and into the top corner in the 90th minute.

Spurs had earlier looked like squandering their chance to rise above Chelsea and move into third when they let a 1-0 lead slip.

But a bundled second half equaliser from substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson set up a grand stand finish in which Bale produced the magic that has earned him comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo on recent form.

Bale had earlier given Spurs the lead in the 14th minute when he skipped inside two West Ham defenders on the left edge of the box and unleashed a low drive past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Spurs were dominating the game after the goal but West Ham won a penalty on 24 minutes after Scott Parker brought down Andy Carroll with a rash and unnecessary two footed lunge.

The striker dusted himself off and lashed home from the spot to give the Hammers an unexpected leveller.

West Ham had earlier started strongly and Matt Jarvis forced a smart low save from Lloris early on but Spurs gained a foothold in the game and were well deserving of Bale’s opener.

The visitors should have gone 2-0 up on the counter attack but Bale opted to shoot from range instead of squaring to Vertonghen who was wide open inside the box to his left.

West Ham went straight up the other end and won their penalty to set the derby alight.

The goal gave the home side the boost they needed and suddenly Sam Allardyce’s team looked the more likely to go ahead.

Jarvis was again denied before the interval, this time by a superb block from Kyle Walker who threw himself in the way of a fierce volley from eight yards after the winger was played in behind.

Caulker forced a superb reflex save from Jaaskelainen with a powerful header and Bale went inches wide with a 35-yard free kick at the end of a hard fought opening half.

Spurs started the second half on the front foot and Caulker should have scored when he fired another free header from six yards straight at the keeper who was able to palm away.

The game again hinged on a missed opportunity from Spurs when Jaaskelainen pulled off a miraculous double save moments before The Hammers took the lead.

The keeper first did well to tip a long range Sigurrdsson effort on to the post but the ball rebounded to Adebayor on the six yard line who somehow headed straight into the hands of the keeper with the goal at his mercy.

Moments later, Joey O’Brien’s long ball forward found Cole who ran in behind the back four before controlling with his back to goal and brilliantly finding the far corner from a tight angle on the turn.

Caulker missed his third from close range when he scuffed yet another free header from six yards, this time the ball harmlessly bouncing into the grateful hands of Jaaskelainen.

The Finnish goalkeeper was called on seconds later though when he kept out a curling effort from Bale with a fingertip save at full stretch as Spurs piled the pressure on their London rivals.

Lloris had to be quick off his line to deny Matt Taylor who found himself onside with the next goal looking crucial in determining the outcome of the match.

And it fell to Spurs on 76 minutes when Sigurdsson bundled home at the back post following a goal-mouth scramble as the ball dropped inside the box from Bale’s free kick.

The leveller set up a thrilling finish that was capped by Bale’s incredible strike that sent the Spurs bench and their travelling fans barmy.

Villas-Boas’ side now face Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday as they continue their quest for a top-four finish.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Pogatetz, 73), Reid, Collins, O'Brien, O'Neil, Diame (Collison, 83), Nolan (Taylor, 35), Jarvis, Carroll, Joe Cole. Subs: Spiegel, Carlton Cole, Collison, Vaz Te, Taylor, Pogatetz, Chamakh.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Parker (Livermore, 87), Dembele (Carroll, 74), Lennon, Bale, Holtby (Sigurdsson, 56), Adebayor. Subs: Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Assou-Ekotto, Carroll.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Bookings: Dembele, 7, O’Brien, 35, Cole, 58, Collins, 82.