No Hodg­son ef­fect as Palace lose 1-0 at home to Saints

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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.

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 and faces a tough chal­lenge to re­build con­fi­dence and turn the team’s form around.

“I still be­lieve in the long-term, these play­ers will pick them­selves up from where they have been knocked down to,” he said. “It’s go­ing to be a long road and there might be some more pain be­fore we see some light at the end of the tun­nel.”

Palace’s long wait for a first league goal of the sea­son could have ended 10 min­utes af­ter Saints went ahead through Davis when Ben­teke met Loftus-Cheek’s low cross at the near post but Forster got his body in the way to make the save.

Palace’s im­pres­sive mid­fielder Lof­tusCheek 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 32 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. “You have to fight for every sin­gle point. You could see to­day that Crys­tal Palace were good,” said Southamp­ton man­ager Mauricio Pel­le­grino.

“They cre­ated chances in the first half and pressed higher in the sec­ond but in gen­eral we con­trolled the game. We could have scored an­other goal but play­ing here is re­ally dif­fi­cult.” — Reuters

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