At a time when his hopes of job salvation must be deflating as quickly as a punctured lilo in the Solent, the last thing Steve Wigley needed to know was that other managers were at Saint Mary's; not so much Crystal Palace's Iain Dowie as Gordon Strachan and Mickey Adams.
Strachan' s presence for Saturday's match can probably be discounted as a threat to Wigley because the Scot knows well that returning managers seldom succeed. But Adams? What was he doing at the game if it was not to meet the Southampton chairman, Rupert Lowe, and to cast an eye over players that he might well be managing in the near future.
All of which hardly augurs well for Wigley who is probably too nice to be a manager and certainly too genuine for the kind of questions to which he was subjected. "Can we talk about the game, not me,'' pleaded Wigley to one tabloid reporter whose persistence bordered on stupidity. "No one wants to talk about a very exciting second half,'' Wigley said, "and that dismays me a bit.''
He had a point along with the one Southampton took after trailing twice. But they are back in the bottom three and not much closer to clearing up their chronic injury list. James Beattie's calf strain made him the latest absentee.
Palace have few such problems. Their team displayed superior rapport but were not blameless for a dreary first half. "What a load of rubbish,'' was the chant as the teams went off at the interval.
Palace emerged for the second half believing they had little to beat and it was not long before Andrew Johnson beat Kasey Keller with a flick header from Aki Riihilahti's cross.
Dowie complained that Southampton's swift equaliser from Kevin Phillips should have been disallowed for offside. Palace's Wayne Routledge then cut in from the right to restore their lead with a drive that reared off Andreas Jakobsson. The defender atoned for his inadvertent mistake by notching the second equaliser from Peter Crouch's nod-down.
Goals: Johnson (48) 0-1; Phillips (50) 1-1; Routledge (54) 1-2; Jakobsson (76) 2-2.
Southampton (4-4-2): Keller; Dodd (Griffit, 68), Kenton, Jakobsson, Le Saux; Fernandez, Telfer, Delap, Sevensson; Phillips, Blackstock (Crouch, 68m) Substitutes not used: Poke (gk), Ormerod, Higginbotham.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Kiraly; Boyce, Hall, Popovic, Granville; Routledge, Riihilahti, Hughes, Watson, Kolkka; Johnson. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Freedman, Andrews, Leigertwood, Lakis
Booked: Crystal Palace: Watson, Popovic.
Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).
Man of the match: Popovic.
Attendance: 31,833.Reuse content