ROVERS' wait for their second away league win of the season continues as even though they put up a spirited display against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Sam Allardyce's side were more than a match for the Champions League chasers Spurs in the opening half, having strong claims for a penalty when David Dunn was brought down in the area by Vedran Corluka, but referee Howard Webb waved away the strong claims.
The first half was end to end until the final minute of the 45 when the home side took the lead. A Kranjcar corner from the left took a deflection off Corluka and that allowed Defoe to touch home from a yard out.
Ten minutes after the restart and Spurs doubled their lead. Roman Pavlyuchenko latching onto a Defoe pass to fire through substitute goalkeeper Jason Brown.
Chris Samba set up an exciting last ten minutes when he headed Rovers back into the game, but that hope didn't last long as lax marking allowed Pavlyuchenko to grab his second and Tottenham's third.
There was still time for more controversy as Niko Kalinić saw what looked like a perfectly good goal chalked off. It wasn't to be Rovers' day.
With a fortnight between games, Sam Allardyce chose to shuffle his pack making three changes for the White Hart Lane clash.
Following their exploits for the reserves, David Dunn and Brett Emerton returned to the starting eleven, along with Pascal Chimbonda who was facing his former club.
That meant El-Hadji Diouf, Junior Hoilett and Keith Andrews all missed out, the trio dropping to the bench.
The opening period was played at blistering pace, a Spurs attack broke down on three minutes allowing David Dunn to race upfield, but his effort was saved by Gomes.
Moments later from a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick, Chris Samba was inches away from giving Rovers the lead, but he couldn't get his head to the ball.
Whilst both sides enjoyed plenty of the ball, it was Rovers who were carving out the better chances. Some lovely passing from Rovers saw Pascal Chimbonda on the overlap, he cut the ball back for Martin Olsson, but his shot was saved.
Paul Robinson was called into action on 12 minutes to keep out a Jermain Defoe shot on the run, but the Rovers number one appeared to pick up a knock shortly afterwards. Jason Brown quickly up off the bench to warm up, before goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms went to check on Robinson who indicated that he wouldn't be able to continue.
Meanwhile Rovers had huge claims for a penalty kick waved away on 20 when a strong run from David Dunn was brought to a crashing halt by Vedran Corluka, but referee Howard Webb waved away the claims from the Rovers players.
Roman Pavlyuchenko slammed an effort the wrong side of the post after good work from the lively Gareth Bale, then after Robinson raced off his line to claim the ball, he indicated he could no longer continue and Jason Brown was introduced.
Robinson unable to put any weight on his left foot as he was helped from the pitch, though the injury is suspected to be a calf strain.
Brown was quickly called upon to make a couple saves, keeping out an effort from Assou-Ekotto and doing likewise with Defoe as Tottenham ended the half the stronger of the two sides.
But on the stroke of half-time Brown was powerless to stop the home side taking the lead from an injury-time corner. Niko Kranjcar's inswinger taking a touch off Corluka with the ball falling perfectly to Jermain Defoe and the England striker made no mistake from a yard out.
After such a competitive and even first 45, it was a shame that Rovers went into the break a goal down.
David Dunn almost played in Niko Kalinić, but Bassong made a vital challenge, then both Morten Gamst Pedersen and Dunn saw free-kicks blocked by unsuspecting Spurs players.
But any chance of a comeback from Rovers was dashed just ten minutes after the restart. Luka Modric with a flick from the outside of his boot teed up Jermain Defoe upfield, he took an age before eventually playing in Roman Pavlyuchenko and the Russian's low drive squirmed under Jason Brown and into the back of the net.
Keith Andrews came on for Brett Emerton, then later Franco Di Santo replaced Gael Givet. But the main talking point of the second half was Gareth Bale who twice threw himself to the ground in the area and was twice told to get up by referee Howard Webb.
The game appeared to be drifting towards a comfortable home win, but Rovers had other ideas and pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining. Morten Gamst Pedersen hitting a corner kick from the right to the far post where Chris Samba leapt high above Michael Dawson to head into the back of the net.
But poor defending was to be Rovers' downfall. A free-kick from the left by Bale was missed by Pavlyuchenko, but Rovers didn't cleared their lines and the ball came back in again from Bale and the Russian striker was unmarked to tap home.
Pavlyuchenko then had the chance to grab an unlikely hat-trick, when after Brown missed a cross the Russian lobbed the ball forward, but Chris Samba acrobatically hooked the ball away.
The drama didn't end there as Rovers had the ball in the back of the net a second time when after being clattered from behind by Michael Dawson, Niko Kalinić turned and lashed a stupendous shot into the back of the net. But unbelievably referee Howard Webb gave Tottenham the free-kick.
TOTTENHAM: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson (c), Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Palacios, Modric (sub Gudjohnsen 89 mins), Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe (sub Crouch 82 mins).
Subs not used: Alnwick (GK), Kaboul, Rose, Walker, Livermore.
ROVERS: Robinson (sub Brown 26 mins), Salgado, Samba (c), Givet (sub Di Santo 74 mins), Chimbonda, Emerton (sub Andrews 62 mins), Dunn, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson, Kalinić.
Subs: Roberts, Diouf, Basturk, Hoilett.