Palace fight back to beat Saints

By SFC Media time Tue 02 Jan Saints v Crystal Palace
Photo by Matt Watson
Tue 02 Jan 7.45PM
Premier League
Crystal Palace
Long [17']
McArthur [69'] Milivojevic [80']
yellow card
Fosu-Mensah (57')
Referee: Stuart Attwell | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 28,411

For so long at St Mary’s, this had looked as if it would be Southampton’s night, yet as the final whistle blew they were left with nothing to show for their efforts, as Crystal Palace took the points thanks to a late fightback that turned this game completely on its head.

Shane Long had put Saints in charge, ending his scoring drought with a glorious first-half effort, but James McArthur equalised with little more than 20 minutes left on the clock, before Luka Milivojević netted a stunning winner for the Eagles with only ten minutes remaining.

The result means that Palace leapfrog Southampton in the table, with Pellegrino's men above the bottom three by virtue of goal difference.

The Saints boss made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 away to Manchester United three days previously, as fit-again Ryan Bertrand was restored at left-back in place of Sam McQueen, while Wesley Hoedt missed out after the effects of a head injury picked up at Old Trafford, meaning Jack Stephens switched to centre-half and Jérémy Pied came in at right-back.

The opening signs were encouraging for Saints, as they carved out two early opportunities, Long first seizing on a loose ball in the area and firing over, before Dušan Tadić curled a first-time shot a few yards too high shortly afterwards.

Wilfried Zaha gave a warning of his threat in the seventh minute, as he showed smart footwork to work the ball onto his left foot in the area, but he dragged his shot, with the errant effort being cleared before it fell to a Palace player.

It was Saints who were applying the bulk of the pressure, though, and they nearly opened the scoring with a thunderbolt from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in the 15th-minute, but his spectacular drive from 25 yards was tipped over superbly by Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal.

However, the wait for the breakthrough would only last another two minutes for the hosts, as they deservedly took the lead through Long.

Pied’s clever low ball from the right side of the area picked out the forward on the penalty spot, and he swivelled and crashed a thunderous shot into the corner of the net.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Southampton’s Shane Long celebrates during the Premier League match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary's Stadium on January 2, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Shane Long celebrates after putting Saints ahead

It was Long’s first goal since February, and, as he slid on his knees and roared in celebration in front of a buoyant Northam Stand, it was wholly apparent how much the strike meant to him.

Palace then threatened a swift response, as Zaha looked to play Christian Benteke in through the middle, but Bertrand got back well to intercept, before, back at the other end, Oriol Romeu hit a booming shot from distance a few yards wide.

By the midway point of the half, conditions at St Mary’s had become somewhat challenging, as the wind began to swirl and the rain poured down, and it coincided with a period where both sides struggled to create opportunities.

It took until five minutes before half-time before either could carve out a significant opening, and even then some fine defending from Stephens saw him block a Zaha effort, after the Palace forward had driven into a dangerous position on the left side of the area.

The interval brought one change, as visiting manager Roy Hodgson, whose side were only two days removed from their previous game, replaced captain Yohan Cabaye with Patrick van Aanholt.

It did little to change the flow of the game, with both teams continuing to find the going hard underfoot. Indeed, the first notable point of the half was a yellow card to Palace’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah, after he wrestled Sofiane Boufal to the ground.

20180102 Southampton v Crystal Palace
Sofiane Boufal is sent flying

In a bid to spark something, Hodgson made his second change of the night as the game reached the 64th minute, replacing Jeffrey Schlupp with the dangerous Bakary Sako.

Only a minute later, Palace did create a good opportunity, although it was Benteke who fashioned it, turning just inside the area and sending a low shot towards the bottom corner, which Alex McCarthy did well to stretch out and stop.

There was nothing he could do to prevent Palace from equalising in the 69th minute, though, as a chipped ball into the area from Andros Townsend was nodded back across goal by Benteke, finding an unmarked McArthur at the back post to side-foot into the roof of the net.

Immediately, Pellegrino made his first change, as Steven Davis was sent on in place of James Ward-Prowse, before Manolo Gabbiadini was introduced for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with 15 minutes remaining.

Nathan Redmond was then thrown on in the 80th minute, with Tadić making way, as Pellegrino went looking for a winner.

The decisive goal came at the other end, though, as a Milivojević hit a stunning first-time shot from 20 yards that curled across goal and nestled just inside the post seconds after Saints' final change had been made.


Head to Head Stats

Crystal Palace
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  • Passes Complete
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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Ryan Bertrand
Jérémy Pied
Maya Yoshida (C)
Jack Stephens
Dusan Tadic
replace Nathan Redmond (79′)
Oriol Romeu
James Ward-Prowse
replace Steven Davis (70′)
Sofiane Boufal
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
replace Manolo Gabbiadini (75′)
Shane Long goal
Mario Lemina
Steven Davis
Matt Targett
Jan Bednarek
Fraser Forster
Manolo Gabbiadini
Nathan Redmond

Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey (GK)
James Tomkins
Timothy Fosu-Mensah yellow card
Jeffrey Schlupp
replace Bakary Sako (64′)
Martin Kelly
Yohan Cabaye (C)
replace Patrick van Aanholt (45′)
Wilfried Zaha
Luka Milivojevic goal
Andros Townsend
James McArthur goal
Christian Benteke
Lee Chung-yong
Damien Delaney
Bakary Sako
Patrick van Aanholt
Julian Speroni
Pape Souaré
Jairo Riedewald
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