Saints 2-3 Crystal Palace
Manager Koeman did his bit to get the club beyond the 4th round of the cup by picking a strong team (Cork in for Reed the only change), but maybe a bit more attention to the opposition’s line-up would have led to a better showing by a strangely vulnerable back line against Crystal Palace.
Saints grabbed an early lead thanks to poor defending by the visitors as they allowed a corner to drop at Pellè’s feet in the six yard box, and the striker duly punished the error. Saints hadn’t previously lost from a winning position, but that record was first put in jeopardy minutes later by a swift break that produced an early low shot from Sanogo that Forster could only push into the path of Chamakh. It wasn’t the sort of goal Palace were scoring when the teams last met, but new manager Pardew had used a succession of quick, rangy forwards at Newcastle who produce exactly this sort of result.
It shouldn’t have mattered too much as Saints were soon back in front from an even more preventable goal – Dann redirected Bertrand’s cross into his own net when there seemed little danger. Again the lead didn’t last long thanks to Zaha linking up with Sanogo who shot past Forster. The big Palace forwards completed their three card trick on 39 minutes when Chamakh rounded Forster to tap into an empty net.
Southampton’s reaction was unexpected, with Targett replacing Gardos and Bertrand moving to centre back. At least it halted what in terms of a Koeman team had been a flood of goals against, but the situation really called for Long, who arrived on the hour… and departed soon after, having fallen awkwardly under Delaney’s challenge. That left Ryan Seager to partner Pellè, while Elia was struggling to make much impression as the more direct wide man. The new acquisition was far less impressive than in his outstanding performance at Newcastle, but he did provide Southampton’s most serious effort to force a replay with an 89th minute shot that Hennessey touched over the bar, leaving a chance to concentrate on the league as the only consolation.
LSSC Man of the Match: Graziano Pellè. A difficult choice, but he did provide our best moment of a surprisingly disappointing afternoon.