It could have been far worse because Southampton trailed twice and owed a big debt to American goalkeeper Kasey Keller who made a series of outstanding saves at crucial times in the match.
Palace will regret being unable to hold on to their lead after looking the better side for the first hour but in the end they endured some difficult moments and manager Iain Dowie would have been thankful for a draw against potential relegation rivals.
Saints were booed off even at half-time after a tepid first 45 minutes in which they failed to muster a corner until the 38th minute and did not manage a single shot on target.
Palace looked the more composed and organised outfit and it was no surprise when they took the lead soon after the break.
Andy Johnson caused plenty of problems for the home defence which was without the calming influence of Norwegian defender Claus Lundekvam, who was suffering from a virus.
It was Johnson's pace which took him clear on to a pass from Wayne Routledge in the 46th minute but he ruined his good work by shooting straight at Keller.
The on-loan keeper denied Johnson again a minute later when the striker cut in from the left and drilled in a low shot.
But Johnson was not to be denied his ninth goal of the season for much longer. In the 48th minute Aki Riihilahti crossed from the right and Johnson got away from his marker to flick home a header which gave Keller no chance.
At this stage Southampton had not created a clear chance of any sort, but in the 50th minute they were level with a soft goal.
Kevin Phillips and Dexter Blackstock found themselves unmarked as they competed for a centre from Fabrice Fernandes and it was Phillips who finished from close range for his fourth of the season.
But Saints had little time to celebrate because four minutes later Routledge cut in from the right and his deflected shot from the edge of the area wrong-footed Keller.
Southampton had plenty of chances to draw level but young striker Blackstock twice missed from close range, his worst after 66 minutes when he blazed over from ten yards after Gabor Kiraly had presented him with an easy opening.
Southampton drew level again in the 75th minute soon after Blackstock had been replaced, to more booing, by former Villa striker Peter Crouch.
Crouch headed down a free-kick from Graham Le Saux and Andreas Jakobsson swept home his first goal for the club.
Palace midfielder player Ben Watson and defender Tony Popovic were booked for showing dissent in the last few minutes as Palace hung on grimly to their point.
At the final whistle one of Southampton's bigger crowds of the season rose to voice their disapproval at a sub-display.
Man of the Match: Wayne RoutledgeThe youngster showed exactly why he is being courted by some of the Premiership's biggest clubs and fully deserved his first Premiership goal.