Chamakh leads Palace past Saints

A lot has changed since Saints travelled to Selhurst Park on Boxing Day, with that 3-1 defeat leading to Neil Warnock's sacking and the appointment of the popular former Eagles midfielder.

Even the most optimistic of Palace fans, though, could not have predicted Pardew's impact, with this 3-2 win - their second in succession - continuing his 100 per cent start to life at the helm, ending Southampton's eight-match unbeaten run.

Like Burnley last weekend, an impressive comeback was required to secure victory from a match which was just nine minutes old when Graziano Pelle ended a seven-match goal drought to put Saints ahead - a lead quickly wiped out as Chamakh bundled home on his return from a six-week injury lay-off.

The first half was like two boxers with weak chins swinging wildly at one another - epitomised by Yaya Sanogo coming close, before Saints broke and Scott Dann turned a Ryan Bertrand cross into his own goal.

However, that lead was once again short-lived as Sanogo netted his first Palace goal, before the 3,225 travelling fans saw their side go ahead as Chamakh rounded Fraser Forster to slot home.

It meant Saints had conceded more in 39 minutes than in their five previous games in 2015 combined and, while they upped the ante in the second half, they were unable to find the equaliser required to force a replay.

Both managers named strong line-ups for what was a remarkable fourth-round tie, with the scoring opened inside nine minutes.

The hosts struck the first blow as James Ward-Prowse swung in a fine corner from the left, with Wayne Hennessey unable to stop Pelle's stabbed effort crossing the line.

It was far from a dominant Saints start, though, and Palace took just two minutes to strike back.

Sanogo had room to fire a low, powerful strike goalwards - an effort Forster could only fumble into the path of Chamakh, who duly bundled home in front of the raucous visiting support.

It was an impressive comeback which would have got better had Sanogo taken advantage of some sloppy play, only for Forster to recover the ball after the Eagles striker's shot squirmed through his grasp.

It was a let-off Southampton capitalised on, launching an immediate break down the left which resulted in Bertrand firing in a low cross and Dann accidentally directing into his own goal.

Again, Saints' lead was short lived as the Premier League's meanest defence continued their off day.

After Fraizer Campbell forced Forster into action, Palace once again drew parity in the 21st minute as Sanogo coolly slotted home after being put through by Wilfried Zaha.

This was proving quite the FA Cup tie, with the attacking, end-to-end flow continuing.

Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis both came close with fizzing 25-yard drives, while at the other end Sanogo headed over from the corner Florin Gardos conceded under pressure.

However, there was, of course, to be more goals and Chamakh netted his second of the afternoon in the 39th minute, breaking behind the Saints backline and coolly rounding Forster before slotting home.

This was just the second time that Saints had conceded more than twice this season and things would have got worse early in the second half had Dann directed a powerful header a little lower.

Ronald Koeman's men were struggling to nullify attack-minded Palace, appearing rattled whenever the visitors poured forward.

Shane Long replaced defensive midfielder Jack Cork as the home side looked to wrestle control back in their favour, with the substitute following Ward-Prowse in having an effort blocked as they pushed to level.

Long's match only lasted 13 minutes as a strong tackle by former Portsmouth defender Joel Ward led to him being replaced by debutant Ryan Seager.

Palace were content to sit back and defend as Saints pushed to level, upping the intensity as the clock wound down.

Hennessey produced an exquisite save to turn away a thumping Eljero Elia drive, with Palace riding their luck in stoppage time to eke out victory.

Source : PA

Source: PA