THERE was little Christmas cheer at Selhurst Part this afternoon as Crystal Palace were on the end of a 3-1 hiding to an impressive Southampton side.
The Eagles just couldn't get out of first gear for the majority of this Boxing Day clash.
And some sections of the home faithful turned on manager Neil Warnock after he substituted Yannick Bolasie with Martin Kelly in the second half.
With the visitors leading 3-0, Scott Dann grabbed a late consolation for the Eagles, heading home from a free-kick in front of the Holmesdale Stand.
Nothing less than a win will do in 48 hours' time at Queens Park Rangers for Palace, who drop into the relegation zone following their latest result.
Southampton nearly opened the scoring inside three minutes in speculative fashion.
After Palace cleared their a corner, centre-back Toby Alderweireld spotted Julian Speroni off his line and attempted to loft the ball over the stopper from a full 25 yards.
The back-peddling Speroni got the faintest of touches on the ball before it struck the crossbar and out for a corner.
Palace might have been ahead, however, when Jason Puncheon arrived in the danger area and struck a clean shot at goal with his weaker foot but Fraser Forster got down well to save.
It was the Saints who struck first approaching the 20-minute mark when a through-ball found Saido Mane, who rounded the onrushing Julian Speroni to fire home on the right side of the danger area.
Mane was nearly in again minutes later, this time on the left, and after rounding Speroni, the assistant referee had his flag up on the near side.
Fraizer Campbell was close to equalising when he struck the underside of the crossbar in front of the Whitehorse Lane Stand.
The assistant referee had his flag up on the far side but television replays showed Campbell was in fact onside.
The Eagles were certainly putting the pressure on at this stage with several minutes of the first half remaining.
However, Southampton went close to a second when Mile Jedinak failed to clear properly with his head inside the six-yard area, and with Speroni off his line, James Ward-Prowse's header looped just over him and the crossbar.
Into the second half and Palace were dealt a huge blow after 47 minutes when they conceded a second, this time through Ryan Bertrand, who blasted home past a flat-footed Speroni.
Boss Neil Warnock threw on Dwight Gayle for Campbell, but it was soon 3-0 to the Saints when Toby Alderweireld header powerfully past Speroni from a corner.
The shot-stopper got a hand to it but the header was just too hot to handle for the Argentine.
Instantly, some section of the home faithful sang for Glenn Murray, currently on loan at Reading and with two goals to his name away at former club Brighton at this point.
The Eagles huffed and puffed against an impressive Saints outfit. Gayle had a chance at the back post but Forster clung on, before Warnock took Ledley off and replaced him with Wilfried Zaha.
However, the next change was greeted with boos as the manager substituted Bolasie and put a defender on in the shape of Martin Kelly.
With the clock ticking down, Palace looked down and out, failing to really create anything in front of goal.
And then with minutes remaining, they grabbed what looked to be a consolation when Scott Dann rose highest to plant a powerful header down into the bottom corner from a free-kick.
However, Southampton managed to hold out for the win despite some late pressure from the hosts.
Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Jedinak ©, Ledley (Zaha 67), McArthur, Puncheon, Bolasie (Kelly ), Campbell (Gayle 49).
Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Hangeland, Bannan, Thomas.
Referee: Mike Dean
Report by Mark Ritson, at Selhurst Park