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03/03/2015: Saints 1-0 Crystal Palace

Saints got back to winning ways with a solid display against Crystal Palace. Ronald Koeman's side had to be patient, but their persistence eventually paid off. The win lifts Saints back up to 5th in the table.

Saints looked slightly edgy during the opening quarter. Palace pressed well without committing too many players forward. The hosts edged the possession stakes, building up patiently from the back. Saints had slightly more variety to their play compared to recent fixtures and weren't afraid to shoot from distance. Filip Djuricic shot over the bar on 11 after controlling Victor Wanyama's mishit effort. Later on Djuricic turned provider for Morgan Schneiderlin, who saw his back heel fly wide of the post.

Palace took the sting out of the game slightly during the latter part of the first-half. They had the ball in Saints' half a bit more without creating many chances. Koeman's men did step it up a bit just before the break. On 40 there was a big scramble in the Palace box, Graziano Pelle shot wide after Julian Speroni had palmed the ball out. Saints maintained the high energy going into half-time but were unable to test Palace's defence further.

Palace enjoyed their best spell of the game at the start of the second half. Fraser Forster made an excellent save with his legs after Jason Puncheon had shot on the turn on 48. A few minutes later there was pandemonium in the box, with Saints unable to clear. Wilfried Zaha hit the post after Yannick Bolasie's initial effort was stopped.

Saints responded well to that let off, gradually improving as the minutes ticked on. Djuricic headed over the bar from Jose Fonte's cross. On 70 Maya Yoshida was presented with an excellent chance, missing at the back post from a corner. Saints were very much on the front foot going into the final 15 minutes. Dusan Tadic's free-kick went just over the bar. Koeman then made a change which would prove decisive. James Ward-Prowse came on for Djuricic. The England U21 international was heavily involved straight away, taking a couple of set pieces. Then on 83 he drove forward towards the edge of the area before shooting powerfully at Speroni. The ball rebounded out to Sadio Mane, who scooped it over the Argentinian keeper. Palace saw more of the ball after the goal, but Saints defended their lead really well. Puncheon had one final chance deep into stoppage time, curling wide of the post.

A much improved performance and a satisfying three points. Saints were a bit easier on the eye and expended a lot of energy. Even at 0-0 you couldn't really fault any individual performances. Everyone played their part. Unfortunately Saints only have two more games this month, the next being away at Chelsea, so it might be harder to gain the momentum a result like this should bring. Still, it's a big relief to finally break the goal drought and hopefully eases the pressure on the players somewhat.

Player Ratings

Forster: 7. Nearly spilled the ball in the first half, but overall a decent evening. Called upon a couple of times, making some good second half saves

Clyne: 7. An improvement on recent displays. Linked up well on the right

Fonte: 7. Stood strong and read the game well

Yoshida: 7. Occasionally a bit wasteful on the ball, but some excellent defensive work

Bertrand: 7. A bit sloppy in possession early on, but defensively sound and decent going forward

Schneiderlin: 8. Saw a lot of the ball. Some good cross-field passes. Defensive work towards the end of the game was particularly excellent

Wanyama: 7. Generally used the ball well. Got forward to good effect

Mane: 8. Never stopped running. Displayed a great change of pace. Goal was a great reward for his efforts

Djuricic: 7. Worked the ball well in tight areas. Made a couple of good driving runs forward

Elia: 6. Pulled off a few nice bits of skill

Pelle: 6. A much better performance. Movement good. Caused Palace problems with his physicality

Substitutes

Tadic: 6. Looked fairly sharp

Long: 6. Pressed hard and used the ball intelligently

Ward-Prowse: Made a great impact immediately after coming on, playing a key role in the goal. Kept giving the ball away in the dying stages

Match Details

Saints - Mane (83)

Attendance - 28,351 (1,871 Crystal Palace fans)

Referee - Martin Atkinson

Line-ups

Saints: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Mane, Djuricic (Ward-Prowse 77), Elia (Tadic 59), Pelle (Long 70)

Subs not used: K Davis, Alderweireld, Gardos, S Davis

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly, McArthur (Ameobi 84), Ledley, Bolasie, Puncheon, Zaha, Gayle

Subs not used: Hennessey, Mariappa, Hangeland, Boateng, Gray, Souare

Previous Match Reports

28/02/2015: West Brom 1-0 Saints
23/02/2015: Saints U21s 0-0 Tottenham U21s
22/02/2015: Saints 0-2 Liverpool
12/02/2015: Saints U21s 3-2 Watford U21s
11/02/2015: Saints 0-0 West Ham
07/02/2015: QPR 0-1 Saints
01/02/2015: Saints 0-1 Swansea
24/01/2015: Saints 2-3 Crystal Palace
17/01/2015: Newcastle 1-2 Saints
15/01/2015: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
14/01/2015: Ipswich 0-1 Saints
12/01/2015: Fulham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
11/01/2015: Man United 0-1 Saints
04/01/2015: Saints 1-1 Ipswich
01/01/2015: Saints 2-0 Arsenal
28/12/2014: Saints 1-1 Chelsea
26/12/2014: Crystal Palace 1-3 Saints
20/12/2014: Saints 3-0 Everton
16/12/2014: Sheffield United 1-0 Saints
13/12/2014: Burnley 1-0 Saints
09/12/2014: Saints U18s 2-1 West Ham U18s
08/12/2014: Saints 1-2 Man United
03/12/2014: Arsenal 1-0 Saints
01/12/2014: Saints U21s 1-0 Man United U21s
30/11/2014: Saints 0-3 Man City
24/11/2014: Aston Villa 1-1 Saints
08/11/2014: Saints 2-0 Leicester
01/11/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
29/10/2014: Stoke 2-3 Saints
25/10/2014: Saints 1-0 Stoke
18/10/2014: Saints 8-0 Sunderland
05/10/2014: Tottenham 1-0 Saints
29/09/2014: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
27/09/2014: Saints 2-1 QPR
23/09/2014: Arsenal 1-2 Saints
20/09/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
13/09/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
12/09/2014: Tottenham U21s 3-2 Saints U21s
30/08/2014: West Ham 1-3 Saints
26/08/2014: Millwall 0-2 Saints
23/08/2014: Saints 0-0 West Brom
22/08/2014: West Ham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
17/08/2014: Liverpool 2-1 Saints
09/08/2014: Saints 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
31/07/2014: Brighton 1-3 Saints
25/07/2014: Bournemouth 0-1 Saints
21/07/2014: Swindon 0-1 Saints