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Dismal Palace Outplayed by Saints

September 12 2006

Selhurst Park

Selhurst Park

An abject Palace lost 2-0 at home to Southampton, being outplayed by a workmanlike side who were faster, stronger and more inventive for most of the 90 minutes, writes Peter Gillman.

Palace barely threatened the Southampton goal apart from one moment when Scowcroft hit the bar. On performances like this, their fourth defeat in five matches, relegation looks a more likely prospect than promotion.

Southampton went ahead in the first minute when Kiraly, displaying his familiar weakness, missed his punch to an inswinging corner and Jones headed home.

Palaceís best moment came on ten minutes, when Scowcroft skilfully controlled a bouncing ball and volleyed against the bar from 18 yards. One minute later, Kiraly missed the ball again when he came out for a corner.

Palace were generally outgunned in all departments. Southampton number 7 Skacel gave Matt Larence a torrid time, and strikers James Scowcroft and Shefki Kuqi failed to click for the second successive match.

Manager Taylor gambled by bringing on new signing Stuart Green at half-time, but Southampton remained on top and went two up on 48 minutes. Skacel broke clear on the left and crossed for Rasiak, who had made space in the box, to rifle home.

Three minutes later Southamptonís Jones won a narrow offside decision and lobbed towards the far post. Skacel headed into the open goal only for Cort to head clear.

Taylor brought on Dougie Freedman and Clinton Morrison on 57 minutes. The two Palace faithfuls created a couple of chances, Dougie missing the best when he slid a shot past Southamptonís far post.

Otherwise Southampton remained on top, finding increasing gaps in the Palace defence. Palace had a penalty shout when a Dougie shot was blocked by a defenderís hand, but referee Penton was unmoved.

Palace were pressing at the close but still without making an impact. Southampton keeper Davis did not have a serious save to make in the entire game.

Palace left the pitch to a mix of half-hearted applause and boos. Their profoundly depressing performance raises the question: where do they go from here?

In the press conference after the match Taylor revealed that Tom Soares is likely to be out for 2-3 months with a crack in his ankle.

Palace: Kiraly; Lawrence, Cort, Hudson, Borrowdale; Soares (Green, 46) Hughes, Kennedy, McAnuff (Morrison, 62); Scowcroft, Kuqi (Freedman, 62).

Subs (unused): Speroni, Butterfield.

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