Goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saw Palace fall to a third league defeat in a row at the expense of Southampton at Selhurst Park.
Ings pounced to score his second of the season just after the break, but a penalty save by Wayne Hennessey from Charlie Austin kept Palace in the game, however despite the Eagles peppering the Saints goal in the final quarter, the goal wouldn’t come and in stoppage-time Hojbjerg wrapped up the visitors’ first win of the season.
The first half was one that wouldn’t live long in the memory, but it was Southampton who looked the likeliest to open the scoring during it. Mark Hughes’ team had been camped in the Palace half by the time the game was 20 minutes old and Mamadou Sakho produced a fine sliding block to prevent Ings tucking the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Hennessey was the busier of the goalkeepers in the opening 45 and he had to tip over a 25-yard drive from Hojbjerg before making an excellent reaction save when Luka Milivojevic inadvertently sent a diving header towards his own goal when defending a Mohamed Elyounoussi free-kick, but the Welshman managed to claw it away from his top corner.
Palace, missing Wilfried Zaha with a groin injury, threatened very little in the opening 45 minutes with new boy Jordan Ayew looking the liveliest in his first action in red and blue. However the best he could muster was a wild shot from distance over the bar between Saints’ attacks, while on the stroke of half-time Milivojevic forced Alex McCarthy into a comfortable first save with a booming volley.
If hopes were high that the hosts would be reinvigorated after a 15-minute regroup, they were dashed a minute after play resumed when Southampton grabbed the lead. Cedric Soares sent in what looked to be a hopeful cross from the right, but it somehow managed to drift towards the penalty area where Ings had escaped the attention of the Eagles defence, and he slipped it through Hennessey’s legs to score in successive Premier League appearances against the Eagles.
That seemed to spark Palace into life and seven minutes later James McArthur took aim from range and curled a shot goalwards which McCarthy was relieved to hear thud off his crossbar, and then Benteke caused an almighty goalmouth scramble when he saw a low shot blocked by the ex-Eagles keeper, and in the resulting melee Patrick van Aanholt, Ayew and McArthur all tried to stab the ball home but to no avail.
But that momentum seemed to have been in vain when the Saints were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes. A low ball into the box was fired goalwards by Austin, who had been introduced as a substitute a couple of minutes earlier, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka blocked it with his hand. Perhaps slightly rusty having not been on the pitch long, Austin attempted to fire the spot-kick down the middle however Hennessey made his first Palace penalty save with his legs.
He continued to keep his team in the game when Nathan Redmond broke clear in the box and took aim but the shot-stopper got down low and pushed it away, with Mohamed Elyounoussi then striking the top of the crossbar with his follow-up.
As the minutes slipped by McCarthy dealt with shots from range by Cheikhou Kouyaté, Van Aanholt and McArthur as Hodgson’s team tried hard to equalise, and then after nodding a header over the top, Benteke had another opportunity to score when Alexander Sørloth nodded the ball into his path and the Belgian headed it downwards, but McCarthy managed to flick it away with his leg as another chance went begging.
And that proved crucial as two minutes into stoppage-time - just as they had against Liverpool in their last home game - a desperate Palace were caught out on the counter-attack. Matt Targett slipped in Hojbjerg down the left who had the freedom of Selhurst Park to slide the ball past Hennessey and put an unfair gloss on the scoreline, but ensure the south Londoners fell to a third league loss in a row.
Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Townsend (Kouyaté 72), McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp (Meyer 76), Ayew (Sørloth 76), Benteke. Subs not used: Guaita, Ward, Riedewald, Puncheon.
Southampton: McCarthy, Soares, Vestegaard, Hoedt, Bertrand, Elyounoussi (Targett 72), Lemina, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Long (Austin 62), Ings (Romeu 78). Subs not used: Gunn, Yoshida, Davis, Ward-Prowse.