A horrendous start to the second half cost Palace dear as they conceded two goals in two minutes that ultimately won Southampton the game at St Mary’s.
Having kept The Saints at bay for the opening 45 minutes, strikes from Dani Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert straight after the restart allowed the home side to comfortably collect all three points and ensure the Eagles’ wait to collect a Premier League point on the road continues.
The hosts began brightly and nearly opened the scoring early doors but, just like at Wembley, Palace had Joel Ward to thank for a goal-line clearance. A downfield punt was flicked on by Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin nodded the ball over Julian Speroni, but Ward raced back to acrobatically head the ball from danger and rescue his side.
After that scare, Ian Holloway’s boys began to show some adventure going forward as the half progressed and Barry Bannan saw a shot blocked after a swift attack involving Jimmy Kebe and Marounane Chamakh, but The Saints continued to create better opportunities and Lambert fired over the bar after Scheniderlin wriggled around in the area and fed the England hitman.
A couple of minutes later and Lambert forced Speroni to produce a volleyball-esque save from a dipping free-kick but then the Eagles had a penalty appeal rejected when Chamakh rounded Artur Boruc and went down after making contact with the keeper’s outstretched arms, but was booked for simulation.
The home fans were appealing themselves on 40 minutes when an Adam Lallana corner flicked off Danny Gabbidon’s arm as the defender attempted to clear the ball but was rightly waved away by the referee as the first-half finished goalless.
But that changed just two minutes after the restart as Southampton took the lead. Mile Jedinak was disposed 25 yards from goal and Lallana gave it to Osvaldo, who twisted and turned to find the half a yard he needed the thump the ball goalwards and beat his compatriot Speroni.
And two minutes later it was 2-0. Kagisho Dikgacoi brought down the Argentinean goalscorer and Lambert stepped up to bend a majestic free-kick over the bar and watched it clip the inside of the post before nestling in the net.
St Mary’s was rocking and so were the Eagles, and Lambert had another attempt bobble just wide of the far post before Steven Davis blasted into the fans when he should have been celebrating as a catastrophic first 10 minutes of the second half elapsed.
With a healthy lead in the bag, Southampton took their foot off the gas a little and Holloway threw on every available piece of firepower at his disposal in an attempt to get back into the game but they could only muster a wild drive over the top by Dean Moxey on 77 minutes.
The home fans were on their feet again five minutes from time when Jay Rodriguez bundled the ball in but the flag was already up for offside, and the visitors’ afternoon was summed up in injury-time when Moxey cut the ball back for an unmarked Cameron Jerome but it took an unfortunate bounce which meant the striker’s effort ballooned over the bar.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama, S. Davis (Ward-Prowse 67), Schneiderlin, Lallana (Ramirez 86), Osvaldo, Lambert (Rodriguez 77). Subs: K. Davis, Chambers, Hooiveld, Cork.
Palace: Speroni, Ward, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bannan (Jerome 57), Kebe (Phillips 72), Gayle (Thomas 57), Chamakh. Subs: Price, Parr, Campana, O'Keefe.