Roy Hodgson’s presence in the dugout couldn’t quite inspire the Eagles to break their duck as Steven Davis’ fifth-minute strike proved to the difference between the sides, with the Saints goal leading a charmed life as twice efforts from Christian Benteke and Jason Puncheon struck Fraser Forster.
For the second week in succession, mere minutes had elapsed before Palace were chasing the game. Davis picked the ball up 30 yards out and played it to Dusan Tadic on the left, and the Serbian got to the byline to centre. After Wayne Hennessey could only push the ball away from his near post, it landed perfectly into the path of the Northern Ireland international who side-footed home on the occasion of his 200th game for the Saints.
Just as they did against Burnley, the Eagles quickly rallied and nearly got back on level terms 10 minutes later when Andros Townsend slipped in Ruben Loftus-Cheek down the right, and he pulled the ball across the face of the area for Benteke who poked goalwards, but summing up Palace’s luck in front of goal this season, the ball struck the midriff of Forster rather than ripple the net.
Loftus-Cheek then provided a spark that the hosts’ early play lacked when he received possession on the halfway line and drove towards the box, and after a neat one-two with Benteke he took aim for the bottom corner from 25 yards and was just off target, and a minute later he edged past a couple of Saints defenders before seeing his attempt deflected wide.
The Eagles continued to crank up the pressure as the half progressed, and on the stroke of half-time Townsend scuffed a volley into the side-netting as the Saints took the lead into the interval.
After the restart forces continued to conspire against Palace as their wait for a league goal this season continued past the six-hour mark when Jeffrey Schlupp picked out Puncheon in the middle who looked destined to convert from close-range, but again the ball struck Forster.
Summing up the mood around Selhurst, the heavens then opened as Southampton soaked up all Hodgson’s team’s attacks, with Mario Lemina bossing the middle of the park with a flawless display, and as the wait for Palace to trouble the scoresheet continued they broke a league record for the longest scoreless streak at start of a campaign as the clock ticked past the 78th minute.
It could have been game over not long after when Oriol Romeu had a free header from a corner that flew just wide, and in the dying embers Cedric Soares wriggled free on the edge of the box and forced a stop from Hennessey, with Palace only mustering a wayward blast from Joel Ward from range as their wait for a first goal and point of the campaign continues.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Schlupp, Townsend, McArthur (Milivojevic 69), Cabaye, Puncheon, Loftus-Cheek (Sako 78), Benteke. Subs not used: Speroni, Van Aanholt, Kelly, Tomkins, Lee.
Southampton: Forster, Soares, Hoedt, Yoshida, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis, Lemina, Tadic (Van Dijk 87), Redmond (Ward-Prowse 85), Long (Gabbiadini 90). Subs not used: McCarthy, Targett, Stephens, Boufal.