Belfast Telegraph

Fraser Forster apologises for costly error

Fraser Forster has apologised to his Southampton team-mates after his error led to Crystal Palace's opening goal in their 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Despite both time and space, Forster inexplicably missed a routine back-pass from Jose Fonte in the 33rd minute, gifting possession to Christian Benteke who was left with the simplest of tap-ins from in front of goal.

Palace had been under intense pressure after a run of six consecutive defeats but scoring the opening goal eased the nerves they had been playing with, transformed the atmosphere at Selhurst and led to an improved performance and two further goals.

James Tomkins scored their second after another defensive error, while Benteke added a late third. Southampton manager Claude Puel blamed the state of the pitch and insisted Forster had done nothing wrong, but the goalkeeper told the club's official website: "Apologies to my team-mates for making that mistake, but it's one of those things.

"We'll pick our heads up and move on, as we've got a massive game on Thursday (against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the Europa League).

"It's just obviously flicked off my right foot as I've gone to clear it with my left, and it's on a plate for Christian.

"It happens as a keeper and you've just got to take it and move on. It's not my first mistake, it won't be my last, and it's just disappointing because then we don't really recover, and to concede the second goal so quickly after that made it a big job for us to come back.

"When you concede a goal like that in those circumstances it obviously shakes the team a bit. We were kind of on top really before that happened.

"To concede the second goal in the manner we did, so soon after the first, makes it a tough day and then you've obviously got to start chasing the game."

The goals were Benteke's first at Selhurst Park since his £27million summer arrival from Liverpool - his previous five had all come away from home - and came on the striker's 26th birthday.

They also relieved much of the pressure on manager Alan Pardew, who had placed so much faith in Benteke, and the Belgian told Palace's official website: "Finally. I was a little bit frustrated with myself that all the goals I had scored were away.

"(On Saturday) I had the opportunity to score to at home, so I'm very happy

"It was an amazing day for me. It was my birthday and I really wanted to win this game to celebrate it properly and that's what the lads did. I'm very happy."

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