Jan 30 (Reuters) – SOUTHAMPTON 1 CRYSTALPALACE 1
Southampton and Crystal Palace were left hovering above the Premier League’s relegation zone after they fought out a 1-1 draw in a drab encounter on Wednesday.
The result left both sides on 23 points from 24 matches, level with Burnley and four ahead of 18th-placed Cardiff City, after the home team’s James Ward-Prowse cancelled out Wilfried Zaha’s opener for Palace.
Zaha was sent off in the dying minutes when he received two yellow cards in quick succession, both for dissent as he clashed with Ward-Prowse and then sarcastically applauded referee Andre Marriner.
The livewire forward’s dismissal and the result left Palace manager Roy Hodgson disappointed but he made no excuses for his player’s petulant reaction to the initial booking.
“His reaction to not receiving a foul when he was clearly pushed off the ball — obviously people do get frustrated,” Hodgson told the BBC.
“But I can’t condone him applauding the referee after getting the yellow card — that is something you can’t do.
“We had chances, there’s no doubt about that. Especially in the second half we had balls cleared off the line and several other very good opportunities.”
Zaha fired the visitors ahead with a stinging low shot from inside the penalty area in the 41st minute, beating Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy at the near post after good work by Andros Townsend.
Ward-Prowse equalised out of the blue in the 77th with a superb first-time finish from 10 metres after Matt Targett squared the ball back to the midfielder from the left flank.
The visitors paid the price for a poor finish by Mamadou Sakho several minutes earlier when his feeble close-range shot was cleared off the line by Jan Bednarek and the Palace defender then spurned another chance shortly after the equaliser.
Both goalkeepers made several good saves in a frantic finish before Zaha received his marching orders. Palace then held on as Southampton threw men forward in search of a winner.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)