Sadio Mane's strike against Crystal Palace ends Southampton's slide
Southampton 1 - 0 Crystal Palace
Sadio Mane gave Southampton's top four ambitions a timely shot in the arm, ending their 387-minute wait for a goal as they secured a late - and potentially season-defining - win against Crystal Palace.
This performance was a far cry from the impressive, swashbuckling Saints who wowed onlookers earlier in the campaign.
They toiled once again as a run of one win in five matches looked set to be extended, yet Mane's late clipped effort saw Palace beaten 1-0 to halt their decline, moving Ronald Koeman's men to within a point of the top four.
For 83 minutes it had looked like Alan Pardew's men would become the latest visiting side to frustrate the hosts at St Mary's, with Eljero Elia managing the only notable effort in the first half.
Martin Atkinson waved away a Dwight Gayle penalty appeal during that tepid opening period, although the Eagles improved markedly after the break.
Fraser Forster had to be alert to deny Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie, with the latter save leading to Wilfried Zaha sending a low strike off the post.
It looked like being another one of those days until seven minutes from time, when substitute James Ward-Prowse burst through and struck an effort at Julian Speroni, whose weak parry allowed Mane to clip home to the clear relief of the majority at St Mary's.
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Elia (Tadic 60), Djuricic (Ward-Prowse 78), Mane, Pelle (Long 70). Goal: Mane (pictured) 83 Subs not used: K Davis, Gardos, S Davis, Alderweireld.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly, Ledley, Zaha, Puncheon, McArthur (Ameobi 84), Bolasie, Gayle. Subs not used: Mariappa, Hangeland, Hennessey, Boateng, Gray, Souare.
Man of the match: Mane
Rating: 6/10 Ref: Martin Atkinson