United, now missing the power and pace of King up front, went behind on 65 minutes, as the excellent Ceballos fired a swerving long range strike past Johnstone to give Spurs a deserved lead. Ceballos was involved again just two minutes later, as his cross found Obika unmarked at the far post, and the Reds were lucky to not concede as he headed into the ground, only to see the ball loop up and over the crossbar. The hosts continued to press for a third, and again Obika came close, as his powerful shot from range flew inches past the far post as United struggled to stay in touching distance of the hosts.
United's first real sight of goal in the second half came with just 18 minutes to go, and Lingard will be disappointed not to have made more of his header after Larnell Cole's corner was completely missed by goalkeeper Miles.
At the other end, Johnstone did well to keep the Reds in the game after Ceballos failed to take a glorious opportunity, but Spurs did go 3-1 up when a long-range strike from substitute Nabil Bentaleb flew past Johnstone.
Bentaleb had only been on the field for a matter of seconds prior to scoring and he was involved again as Obika rubbed salt in the wounds by slotting under Johnstone for the second Spurs goal in as many minutes to all but seal the win.
The quickfire scoring didn't end there, however, as Tom Lawrence went straight down the other end to fire a fantastic shot past Miles. However, it was too little, too late for the Reds, who drop below Spurs in the table, albeit with a game in hand over table toppers Newcastle United.
United: Johnstone, Veseli, McGinty, Thorpe (Blackett 82), Keane, Fornasier, Cole, Tunnicliffe, King (Lawrence 46), Lingard, Brady. Subs not used: Ekangamene, Sutherland, James.