Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 2: Dominant Saints take full advantage of sinning defence

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The Independent Football

Boos rung out around Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace were condemned to another defeat. The home fans were clearly dissatisfied at the manner of this loss, and they had good reason to be. Against an ordinary looking Southampton, Palace were dismally poor.

The visitors took the lead just two minutes into this game when the striker Kenwyne Jones headed home Rudi Skacel's corner. Three minutes after the interval, Grzegorz Rasiak added a second. It was enough to leave Palace, a side who sat atop the table three games in, heading to Norwich City on Saturday, seeking their first win in six games.

Their manager, Peter Taylor, said: "We are not giving ourselves a chance at the moment. Me and the players have put our hands up. We do not look like we are going to keep a clean sheet.

"The fans got a bit frustrated in the second half. I have no complaints about that - I have more complaints about the players' performance." After the first goal, it seemed that the Palace supporters needed was something to soothe jangling nerves. What they got was a watered-down, weak performance.

Transfer deadline day signing Shefki Kuqi's home debut sparked into life, briefly, on 32 minutes when he lunged through on goal to claim a loose ball.

The ensuing collision with the Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis left his former Ipswich Town team-mate a crumpled heap inside the penalty area. The assistant referee, however, had raised his flag to signal for offside, much to Kuqi's frustration. He kicked the ball high in the south London sky and so earned a yellow card before his first shot on target at Selhurst Park.

Skacel gave Southampton with a second when he crossed to the Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak, who slid in to claim an easy goal.

Palace's performance was doing little to inspire their supporters. A few ran on to the pitch in a bid to inject the desired level of enthusiasm. One rotund man showed clever footwork to taunt Davis in the Southampton goal before his night was brutally cut short by security staff.

There were brief cheers as the striker Clinton Morrison was brought on in the second half. But in truth, the game was over by then.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Lawrence, Hudson, Cort, Borrowdale; Soares (Green, 46), Hughes, Kennedy, McAnuff (Freedman, 56); Kuqi (Morrison, 56), Scowcroft. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Butterfield.

Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Pele, Baird, Makin, Wright; Skacel, Idiakez (Ostlund, 51), Viafara, Dyer (Wright-Phillips, 82); Rasiak (Surman, 67), Jones. Substitutes not used: Bale, Miller (gk)

Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

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