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14:57 26th December 2011

Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 0

The festive season of games started with the short trip to St Mary's as Dougie Freedman's side met table toppers Southampton.  Freedman made three changes with Wilfried Zaha back from suspension plus Peter Ramage and Stuart O'Keefe named in the starting eleven. The game kicked off with a close to capacity crowd inside the impressive stadium and it was Julian Speroni who was the first goalkeeper called upon. Morgan Schneiderlin put in a good curling cross, on nine minutes, which was met at the back post by Rickie Lambert with a fine header but Speroni produced an excellent point blank save to keep his side on level terms. The first half an hour of play saw a lot of possession from the home side and three corners but they were unable to open up the Palace defence apart from that header from Lambert. The home fans did not have to wait too long though before the breakthrough as on 34 minutes Nigel Adkins side took the advantage. Steve De Ridder finished a run down the right with a cross into the middle of the box and Speroni couldn't prevent the header from Guly Do Prado from hitting the back of the net and Saints turning that possession into a goal. Two minutes of added time brought the first half to a close with that goal separating the two sides in a half low on chances but one which was dominated in possession by the home side. The hosts had a couple of early chances at the start of the second half as Do Prado has a shot blocked and then De Ridder found Lallana on the edge of the box but his shot dropped just wide of Speroni's right hand post. Just before the hour mark the visitors had two shouts for a penalty waved away by the referee Graham Salisbury. Firstly there a was a handball appeal which was turned down and then there appeared to be a pull on Paddy McCarthy's shirt but this again was not given. On 66 minutes Freedman made his first change from the bench as Chris Martin replaced Peter Ramage. This saw Parr go to left back and Martin join Murray up front in a 4-4-2 formation. Just after a further change which saw Owen Garvan come into the game for O'Keefe, the home side added a second with another close range header. The cross came in from Frazer Richardson and once again the header from Do Prado added to the Saints goal tally for the season. A goal in each half gave the home side maximum points as they maintained their unbeaten home record and Palace started their xmas programme with disappointment.  Southampton: Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, De Ridder (Connolly 83), Schneiderlin (Hammond '87), Cork, Lallana, Do Prado, Lambert. Subs not used : Bailkowski, Harding, Martin. Bookings: Fox Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ramage (Martin 67), McCarthy, Gardner, Clyne; O'Keefe (Garvan 75), Dikgacoi; Parr, Scannell, Zaha; Murray (Easter 83). Subs not used: Price, Ambrose. Bookings: Clyne, Ramage, McCarthy Attendance: 31,524  Referee: Mr G Salisbury
    Data provided by Press Association