Sadio Mané's strike ended a 387 minute goal drought for the Saints at home and obtained a crucial three points after two consecutive defeats.
After a poor first half display from both sides, a half severely lacking in clear cut chances and pressure from either side, Southampton ended up winning the contest with 8 minutes to spare. Mané stepped up for the hosts at a time where it looked like Palace where going to snatch a victory, it wasn't to be for Pardew's men and Southampton acquired three very important points in their quest for European football.
Neither side could break the deadlock in the first half with the best chance falling to Italian forward, Pellè. The chance stemmed from a corner, the ball found its way to Eljero Elia, who tried to sneak in a strike at Speroni's near post to no avail. Speroni parried his strike right into the path of Pellè, who hit the follow-up wide after being pressured by Martin Kelly. The home side lacked urgency when in possession of the ball and rarely threatened Speroni's goal. The visitors were however pegged back quite a bit and didn't do much go forward either in the first half.
After the interval that all changed. Palace where the ones who started the more brighter of the two sides. Yannick Bolasie, who was a constant menace to the back-line of the Saints created so much through his directness, taking on players and having a pop at goal every now and then. He was the most impressive Eagles player out there tonight. Him, Zaha and Pucheon linked well during counter attacks. A crucial moment of play that was not taking advantage of by Pardew's men was during the 55th minute. During a counter-attack Bolasie got free in the box and hit his rasping effort which was saved well by the English stopper, Fraser Forster. Bolasie gathered the ball after it rebounded back out and this time played Zaha in who hit his angled drive against the post. The danger signs were there for the Saints.
Martin Kelly had a pop at goal that was easily gathered by Forster but prior to that move the Saints had a few chances to score the opener. Dušan Tadić saw his effort from a corner just go over Speroni's net however Yoshida blew a golden chance for Southampton. The Japanese defender hit his effort wide from a few yards out following a flick on from a corner. A huge let off for the Eagles just approaching the 70th minute.
The most decisive moment of the game came after 83 minutes had been played. Substitute James Ward-Prowse played the ball with Mané before the English midfielder hit his strike straight at Speroni. The Argentine time spilled the shot and Mané reacted first coolly dinking his effort over Speroni breaking the deadlock - 7 minutes from time.
One last scare was to take place for Southampton, Bolasie put in a teasing ball from the right hand side in hope of finding Scott Dann to level the scoring, however Yoshida made up for his earlier miss by getting a crucial touch on the ball - putting it out for a corner. With the final whistle being blown not long after.
Southampton with this victory now rise up to fifth place, one point away from the Champions league places. Meanwhile for Palace this was Alan Pardew's first defeat away from home since he took charge in January and they remain firmly in mid-table - 12th with 30 points.
|Southampton (1)||Crystal Palace (0)|