Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 1 match report: Jay Rodriguez pounces to push Palace nearer drop

Pulis’s goal-shy team face tough trio of fixtures as relegation zone looms

Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace’s run of home wins under Tony Pulis, invaluable as it was, had been against teams from the bottom half of the table. In Manchester United and Southampton they have recently come up against something a touch classier, and as a result are now just two points above the gallows places.

As of yesterday, they are also the lowest scorers in the League, having registered just one shot on target all afternoon, and while the new manager may have tightened up the defence it is the time of the season when goals count. A miserly 19 in 28 games does not augur well.

Palace were left to rue conceding an unusual, if careless, one to Jay Rodriguez and to complain about the referee, Howard Webb, not sending off Dejan Lovren early in the second half. Webb gave the benefit of the doubt to Southampton’s Croatian defender when he cut down Yannick Bolasie, believing that it was not quite an obvious scoring opportunity.

 

As the statistics demonstrated, opportunities of any sort were in woefully short supply, and Southampton were hardly prolific in a game unworthy of the beautiful sunshine. What they did have were four England internationals in influential form.

Rodriguez took his goal bravely and imaginatively; Rickie Lambert, a lone striker looking much more dangerous than Palace’s Glenn Murray, worked hard and hit a post; Adam Lallana was elegant and composed in the central role behind him; and Luke Shaw reprised his excellent Wembley performance, hitting more shots at the opposition goalkeeper than the entire Palace side.

Solid at the back, Southampton dealt comfortably with the 20-plus crosses that were all Pulis had to boast about, and were never in danger of suffering a first Premier League defeat in 10 meetings to the south London side. Instead, the figures were all positives: they have already superseded last season’s 41 points, and this sixth away win was a Premier League record for the club. Finishing in the top eight remains a strong possibility.

“I don’t know how far we can go,” their manager, Mauricio Pochettino, said. “We played our way, kept the ball on the ground and I thought the victory was well deserved.”

Pulis, who does not do negativity, said only: “The disappointing thing was that we didn’t create more opportunities. It was a tough, tight game and we needed a break. The most important thing now is to stay focused.”

Focus they must for the long trips to Sunderland and Newcastle before the League leaders, Chelsea, visit Selhurst.

Killing the game may well be the approach on those occasions, but yesterday it worked against Palace that for more than 35 minutes nothing of note happened; then a strange goal materialised.

The home side had been pressing at last and won a couple of corners, the second of which was cleared only as far as the halfway line. Jason Puncheon, late of Southampton, tried a header that he left much too short, Dean Moxey could not cover and Julian Speroni had to race from his area to take on Rodriguez in a fifty-fifty sliding challenge. The Southampton man won and hooked the ball into an empty net while still on the ground.

Before half-time the visitors – and the England contingent – might have had another, Lambert hitting the post with a clever shot from Lallana’s chip and Shaw shooting at Speroni from Steve Davis’s corner. Not until added time was Boruc called upon. He did well to hold Kagisho Dikgacoi’s low drive, which remained his one save of the day.

The only moment of excitement in the whole second half came soon after the resumption. The lively Bolasie wriggled through the middle and was brought down by Lovren, but it appeared that Nathaniel Clyne was within tackling distance. Webb decided a yellow card was sufficient, and Mile Jedinak wasted the free-kick.

Line-ups:

Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Moxey; Puncheon (Ince, 70), Dikgacoi (Jerome, 70), Jedinak, Bolasie (Thomas, 82); Ledley; Murray.

Southampton (4-2-3-1): Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Cork (Wanyama, 32), Schneiderlin; Davis (Ward-Prowse, 88), Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert (Gallagher, 75).

Referee: Howard Webb.

Man of the match: Lallana (Southampton)

Match rating: 5

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own