Saints exited the FA Cup at the fourth round stage after losing a five-goal game against Crystal Palace at St Mary’s.
All of the strikes arrived in the first half of an entertaining cup tie in which Ronald Koeman’s side twice led, before eventually being overhauled by the Eagles who shared four goals shared with Saints in a 12 minute spell before Alan Pardew’s men sealed their win on 39 minutes.
Having already notched one, Marouane Chamakh struck again for the decisive effort when he kept his composure to round Fraser Forster and roll the ball into the net for 3-2.
After Graziano Pellè had given Saints a ninth minute lead, Chamakh swiftly brought the scores level before an own goal from Scott Dann saw the hosts regain their advantage. Yaya Sanogo equalised, and Chamakh turned the game on its head to end the hosts’ unbeaten run of eight matches in all competitions.
Palace extended their hold over Saints in FA Cup competition with four wins to the hosts’ two, with Southampton now having lost 17 of their last 24 FA Cup matches against top flight opposition.
Koeman had made just one change to the team that started the win at Newcastle last weekend, as Jack Cork replaced Harrison Reed in midfield with the youngster dropping to a youthful bench alongside the experienced duo Kelvin Davis and Shane Long.
Jason Puncheon made his first return to St Mary’s since leaving for Palace, but was only named among the substitutes by former Saints boss Alan Pardew.
The hosts got the game under way with Pellè and Ward-Prowse attacking the Chapel end, and it was a fast paced start to the contest too, with Palace’s Marouane Chamakh firing a shot over the bar with less than a minute on the watch.
Saints responded with an equally positive approach and were rewarded with the opening goal of the game on nine minutes when a corner from James Ward-Prowse went to the back post where Graziano Pellè stabbed home despite best attempts of Palace ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey to stop it on the line.
The lead lasted only two minutes with the Eagles back on level terms when on loan Arsenal forward Yaya Sanogo struck a low shot across goal which was parried by Fraser Forster and turned into the net from close range by Chamakh.
The visitors’ front line continued to work the Saints backline and moments after equalising, Chamakh found strike partner Sanogo in a good position, but Forster made a comfortable save.
They were made to rue that when Saints retook the lead on 17 minutes. Ward-Prowse was involved again, playing a delicious pass with the outside of his boot down the flank to Ryan Bertrand whose low cross was turned into his own net by Scott Dann at the near post.
It remained end-to-end action, with Forster denying Fraizer Campbell before Palace levelled again on 21 when Damien Delaney’s long ball forward was brought down by Wilfried Zaha, who played the ball into the path of Sanogo and the frontman hit a shot which crept in past the left side of Forster for 2-2.
Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis each drilled low shots wide of Hennessey’s left post, but Palace grabbed the game’s fifth goal on 39 minutes when Joel Ward clipped the ball into the area where Chamakh latched onto it, and then bided his time perfectly to round Forster and slot the ball in to give the visitors a lead for the first time in the game.
That’s the way it stayed until half-time, which Ronald Koeman responded to by bringing on Matt Targett in place of already booked Florin Gardos for the second 45 which saw Bertrand move into the middle alongside Fonte.
It was a less frantic start to the new half overall, with fewer chances created by either side.
Scott Dann headed over for the visitors from a corner prior to substitutions from both dugouts with Shane Long replacing Cork and former Saint Jason Puncheon coming on for two-goal Chamakh
Soon after his introduction, Long won a corner which Palace dealt with, but the Irishman was certainly making an impression on the game as he ran at the Eagles backline to good effect, but it was from one of those bursts forward which saw a premature end to the game for Long who was injured in a collision with Delaney.
He was replaced by first team debutant Ryan Seager, with the Saints Academy striker getting just over quarter of an hour to try and find a way through for Koeman’s side.
The hosts continue to search for a leveller in the remaining minutes, with Palace’s openness providing hope of a way back into the game.
Palace brought on Adrian Mariappa and Glenn Murray with no signs of shutting up shop in order to defend their lead, and Saints went close to restoring parity on 89 minutes when Eljero Elia smashed a rising shot from Ward-Prowse’s free-kick which Hennessey had to tip over the bar.
It was a spirited end to the contest with six minutes of stoppage time added on, during which Ward-Prowse blazed over from the edge of the area, but Palace held on to advance into round five.
Southampton team: Fraser Forster, Nathaniel Clyne Florin Gardos (Matt Targett 46), José Fonte, Ryan Bertrand, Jack Cork (Shane Long 59) (Ryan Seager 73), James Ward-Prowse, Steven Davis, Eljero Elia, Dušan Tadić, Graziano Pellè
Unused substitutes: Kelvin Davis, Lloyd Isgrove, Harrison Reed, Jason McCarthy
Booked: Gardos (45), Targett (52), Clyne (69), Fonte (77)
Goals: Pellè (9), Dann OG (17)
Crystal Palace team: Wayne Hennessey, Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney (c), Martin Kelly, Joe Ledley, James McArthur, Wilfried Zaha, Fraizer Campbell (Glenn Murray 82), Yaya Sanogo (Adrian Mariappa 78), Marouane Chamakh (Jason Puncheon 65)
Unused substitutes: Julian Speroni, Brede Hangeland, Dwight Gayle, Barry Bannan
Booked: Chamakh (42)
Goals: Chamakh (11) & (39), Sanogo (21)
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Attendance: 31,320 (including 3,255 away)