Saints grab lifeline
Southampton bolstered their hopes of survival as they claimed a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Last Updated: 13/04/09 5:30pm
Southampton bolstered their hopes of survival in the Championship as they claimed a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The only goal came midway through the second half as David McGoldrick lashed the ball home to seal the three points.
The win means the Saints remain second from bottom, but they are now just two points off safety.
The hosts were in desperate need of a victory, lying second from bottom and with a possible 10-point penalty hanging over them after their parent company went into administration.
But Palace, with little to play for in mid-table, were successfully frustrating the hosts despite playing for seven minutes with 10 men and defender Clint Hill in goal after an injury to Julian Speroni.
That was until McGoldrick let fly with his 13th goal of the season which moved Southampton to within a tantalising two points of safety with three games remaining - including a trip to fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on the final day.
Le Tiss boost
Saints legend Matt Le Tissier, so often the saviour in their annual Premier League relegation battles during the 1990s, was on the pitch rallying the home faithful pitch prior to kick-off.
And the hosts responded by starting at a blistering pace, with Dutch defender Jan Paul Saeijs fizzing a drive narrowly wide in the opening moments.
Bradley Wright-Phillips forced a smart save from Speroni and Andrew Surman fired wide as Southampton poured forward.
Speroni then suffered a facial injury when he clawed away a weak Wright-Phillips effort and was forced to dive at the feet of Surman as the midfielder attempted to stab the rebound in.
Left-back Hill had to don the number one jersey as Speroni was patched up, but when Saints managed to test the makeshift goalkeeper he pulled off a fine block from McGoldrick.
Speroni eventually re-emerged and immediately denied Wright-Phillips yet again, before coming up with a superb save to keep out Adam Lallana's curler in first-half stoppage time.
After the break Jason Euell volleyed Lloyd James' cross over the crossbar and McGoldrick fired wide with Saints by now getting desperate for a breakthrough.
Saeijs should have done better when he met Paul Wotton's free-kick, but his header was too high.
But the goal the hosts craved finally arrived with 67 minutes on the clock.
McGoldrick collected the ball 25 yards out and unleashed a cracking left-footed drive which flew past Speroni and into the top corner.
Hill and substitute Anthony Stokes put chances wide, and Shefki Kuqi's last-gasp effort was blocked on the line as Saints held out for what could prove a vital victory come the final day of the season.