Match ends, Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 0.
- First Saints home goal in six hours, 27 minutes
- Southampton a point behind fourth-placed Man Utd
- Palace boss Pardew had won first five away games
Sadio Mane ended Southampton's goal drought at home by scoring a late winner against Crystal Palace to send the Saints fifth in the Premier League.
The Senegalese chipped over Julian Speroni after the Palace keeper could not hold James Ward-Prowse's shot.
The visitors had looked most likely to score with Wilfried Zaha striking a post in the second half.
But a first home goal in four games handed Alan Pardew a first away defeat since becoming Palace boss in January.
For long periods in the game it looked like Southampton's woes in front of goal would continue.
Mane was guilty of several glaring misses in the first half, but the introduction of substitute Ward-Prowse made a difference as his surging run led to a first Saints goal in six hours and 27 minutes at St Mary's.
The result was also a first victory in four league games for Ronald Koeman's side, who remain in contention for a Champions League place despite their recent poor form.
They are now a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United, having played a game more.
For much of the first half the hosts clearly lacked confidence in the final third despite enjoying the vast majority of possession, with Eljero Elia finally testing Speroni five minutes before the break.
Graziano Pelle, who has summed up Southampton's dip in form, failed to take advantage of the rebound as his personal goal drought extended to 11 league games.
The visitors, who were without the suspended Mile Jedinak and Glenn Murray, offered little in response during a drab first half, and were content to defend in numbers. They claimed that Yannick Bolasie and Dwight Gayle were brought down in the penalty area, although both appeals were muted.
This was Alan Pardew's third trip to St Mary's following a 4-0 defeat as Newcastle boss earlier in the season and a win with Palace in the FA Cup in January.
Yet having soaked up the pressure in the first half, his side became more expansive after the break. First Jason Puncheon drew a decent stop from Fraser Forster before they created two chances in succession as Bolasie tested the goalkeeper and Zaha hit the post.
Sensing a change in the game's flow, Koeman brought on Dusan Tadic from the bench and the Serb almost set up the opener when his corner was flicked on by Pelle with Maya Yoshida unable to guide his touch goalwards.
But it was Ward-Prowse's intervention which proved decisive as he created the opening for Mane, who scored his sixth goal of the season.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman: "We needed that three points because you saw today it wasn't the best game we played this season, we didn't create big chances, but we tried and we had the luck and the spirit to win the game.
"It's a mental question, the players are maybe a bit less confident and you saw that. We need that confidence to play football. It's one of the key moments of the season with three points and 10 days off, the situation is more comfortable and will be good for the players."
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: "In the second half we were the better team and should have taken the lead. We should have had a penalty as well. I think Martin Atkinson should have given a penalty, Jose Fonte was going through the back of people all night.
"It's so disappointing that we have let in a bit of a soft goal. Julian Speroni is big enough to put up his hands up in the dressing room but we should have stopped it before we got anywhere near there."
- 6José Fonte
- 22EliaSubstituted forTadicat 60'minutes
- 15DjuricicSubstituted forWard-Prowseat 78'minutes
- 19PellèSubstituted forLongat 70'minutes
- 27DelaneyBooked at 90mins
- 18McArthurBooked at 30minsSubstituted forAmeobiat 84'minutes
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 0.
Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Sadio Mané (Southampton).
Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Maya Yoshida.
Sadio Mané (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace).
Attempt missed. Shola Ameobi (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Joe Ledley with a cross.
Foul by Victor Wanyama (Southampton).
Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Dusan Tadic (Southampton).
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Shola Ameobi replaces James McArthur.
Goal! Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 0. Sadio Mané (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Sadio Mané.
Attempt missed. Shane Long (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Dusan Tadic with a cross.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Joel Ward.
Attempt blocked. Victor Wanyama (Southampton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.