Crystal Palace Home Won 3 – 1
Still no Gabbiadini for the visit of Crystal Palace, so the likelihood of still no goals as well. No Cáceres either, and Bertrand was also missing, so there was a widespread view that Benteke would be just the man to take advantage of a defence which always seems to have a mistake in them. Long had a first minute chance to put these worries behind us, but his shot crept agonisingly wide of the post. Long was up against his old enemy, Roger East, and had what looked to be a fair penalty appeal turned down by a referee who also allowed Schlupp to get away with a handball in the box, but really it wasn’t a great first half showing by Saints. Milivojevic slapped a free kick against the post before the visitors took the lead when Benteke converted Townsend’s cross at the end of a very good crossfield move. They didn’t retain the advantage until the interval as Redmond bobbled in a shot after a period of Saints pressure that was kept going by Davis with a robust, some might say dubious, challenge on Zaha, who did get knocked over rather easily. Palace were to hit the post again, through Kelly, with the scores level, but the equaliser had come at a timely moment and it was a much improved Southampton in the second half: some last gasp blocks by both defenders and goalkeeper denied them, while Soares fired the loose ball wide from one such occasion. Eventually the go-ahead goal arrived with the unlikely figure of Yoshida tapping home in the 84th minute after good work by Redmond. Palace lined up as if to mount a cavalry charge at Forster’s goal but it never materialised as Ward-Prowse knocked in a third for his team from Soares’ cross just couple of minutes later, and the home crowd went home happy with the eventual overall performance.
LSSC Man of the Match: Dušan Tadić, who hadn’t been a likely choice in recent weeks – and he did finish the 90 minutes too, for the first time since Anfield.