Verdict: Palace 1 Saints 1
With the late departures of Rasiak and Skacel upsetting the highly promising 4-3-3 tried at Norwich, Saints reverted to 4-4-2 with mixed results as we struggled for fluency in attack.
O'Halloran's nervous debut as sub meant Jermaine 'utility is my middle name' Wright was reshuffled to left back in the place of the injured Vignal. Powell returned from yet another injury but was suprisingly effective alongside the ever impressive Davies.
A tired looking Safri and short of confidence Euell failed to get Saints usual passing game going against a direct Palace side. On the flanks Surman and Hammill provided what little quality there was in attack, but drifted in and out of the game.
In attack, with Wright-Phillips anonymous, John had the shoulder the bulk of the work until the hugely impressive Saganowski came on to provide hope that we did actually buy the player on loan from last season.
A point away to in-form Palace was certainly a result we would have taken ahead of kick-off. Yet after a difficult week dominated by the unexpected departures of Rasiak and Skacel and the unfortunate loss against Norwich, it could have been three points if Saints had had a little more quality in attack.
It is quite something that the form team in the league looked so average, particularly in the first half when Saints had the best of the chances but in truth didn't look like scoring.
Palace improved considerably after the break and could have had a second after Scowcroft's strike but for the post and the crossbar. Once Saints had weathered the storm, we finally came to life roared on by an away following desperate for something to cheer.
The catalyst was the return to something like his best form from Saganowski who simply has to replace the ineffective Wright-Phillips in the next game. Suddenly Saints were first to every ball, breaking at speed and stringing passes together to cut open the dogged Palace defence. It only served to beg the question of why we can't play like that all the time.
With the equaliser so late it never felt that Saints were going to sneak the winner, but it was at least encouraging to see Saints finishing strongly.
The performance, but no means a classic, does at least give encouragment that a new manager can salvage something from our squad, even if we are a couple of players short of the quality required to really impose ourselves on this league.
If we had lost again and we would inevitably start looking over our shoulders, but a decent point gives enough hope that we can at least stabilise and look forward to seeing some decent performances and the much needed investment to give us a fighting chance next season.