Crystal Palace failed to benefit from the Roy Hodgson effect as Steven Davis’s early goal and two saves by Fraser Forster helped Southampton beat the Premier League’s bottom club 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Palace were playing for the first time under new manager Hodgson but were reeling in the sixth minute when Davis steered the ball into the bottom corner after home goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey beat out a low right cross from Dusan Tadic.
Palace are without a goal in their opening five league games, a Premier League record, but not for want of trying with Ruben Loftus-Cheek twice going close after half an hour and Forster also saving from Christian Benteke.
Former England manager Hodgson took charge at Palace this week after Dutchman Frank de Boer was sacked following four defeats and no goals in his debut Premier League season.
Palace’s long wait for their first league goal of the season could have ended 10 minutes after Saints had taken the lead when Benteke met Loftus-Cheek’s low cross from the right at the near post but Forster got his body in the way to make the save.
Palace’s impressive midfielder Loftus-Cheek came close when he skimmed the outside of the post with a shot from the edge of the box then had an effort deflected for a corner.
Two more chances went begging in a downpour early in the second half when another Loftus-Cheek centre flew across the face of goal before Forster saved from Jason Puncheon.
There were boos from the Palace crowd when Hodgson brought off Loftus-Cheek, his best player, for Bakary Sako with 15 minutes to go and the change did not work for his goal-shy team.
Saints, who had last scored when they beat West Ham United 3-2 at home on Aug. 19, notched their second win to move up to provisional fifth spot on eight points before the afternoon kickoffs, while Palace are rooted to the bottom of the table.
Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris