Premiership: Southampton 1-0 Crystal Palace

Sadio Mane ended Southampton’s goal drought at home by scoring a late winner against Crystal Palace to send the Saints fifth in the Premier League.

The Senegalese chipped over Julian Speroni after the Palace keeper could not hold James Ward-Prowse’s shot.

The visitors had looked most likely to score with Wilfried Zaha striking a post in the second half.

But a first home goal in four games handed Alan Pardew a first away defeat since becoming Palace boss in January.

For long periods in the game it looked like Southampton’s woes in front of goal would continue.

Mane was guilty of several glaring misses in the first half, but the introduction of substitute Ward-Prowse made a difference as his surging run led to a first Saints goal in six hours and 27 minutes at St Mary’s.

The result was also a first victory in four league games for Ronald Koeman’s side, who remain in contention for a Champions League place despite their recent poor form.

They are now a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United, having played a game more.

For much of the first half the hosts clearly lacked confidence in the final third despite enjoying the vast majority of possession, with Eljero Elia finally testing Speroni five minutes before the break.

Graziano Pelle, who has summed up Southampton’s dip in form, failed to take advantage of the rebound as his personal goal drought extended to 11 league games.

The visitors, who were without the suspended Mile Jedinak and Glenn Murray, offered little in response during a drab first half, and were content to defend in numbers. They claimed that Yannick Bolasie and Dwight Gayle were brought down in the penalty area, although both appeals were muted.

This was Alan Pardew’s third trip to St Mary’s following a 4-0 defeat as Newcastle boss earlier in the season and a win with Palace in the FA Cup in January.

Yet having soaked up the pressure in the first half, his side became more expansive after the break. First Jason Puncheon drew a decent stop from Fraser Forster before they created two chances in succession as Bolasie tested the goalkeeper and Zaha hit the post.

Sensing a change in the game’s flow, Koeman brought on Dusan Tadic from the bench and the Serb almost set up the opener when his corner was flicked on by Pelle with Maya Yoshida unable to guide his touch goalwards.

But it was Ward-Prowse’s intervention which proved decisive as he created the opening for Mane, who scored his sixth goal of the season.

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