London - Roy Hodgson was unable to stop Crystal Palace hitting an
historic low as Steven Davis sealed Southampton's 1-0 win at Selhurst Park on
Former England boss Hodgson was taking charge of Palace for
the first time following his appointment on Tuesday as successor to the sacked
Frank De Boer.
But Hodgson couldn't inspire an immediate upturn in Palace's
fortunes, with Davis's goal condemning the Eagles to a piece of unwanted
Palace sit bottom of the table after becoming the first
English top tier team to lose their opening five fixtures without scoring a
Worryingly for Hodgson, the last Premier League team to lose
their first five games and still stay up were Southampton in 1998-99.
With De Boer axed just four games into his reign at Palace,
Hodgson has returned to the club he played for 51 years ago, tasked with saving
them from relegation while also salvaging his own battered reputation.
The 70-year-old was back in the dugout for the first time
since his underwhelming spell as England boss ended with the humiliation of a
Euro 2016 exit against minnows Iceland.
Born just down the road from Selhurst Park in suburban
Croydon, Hodgson was greeted warmly by Palace supporters as he strolled along
the touchline before kick-off.
But it took just six minutes for Hodgson's first experience
of the Premier League since 2012 to turn sour.
The former West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool manager was
shaking his head in frustration when Dusan Tadic escaped down the right flank
and crossed low into the Palace penalty area.
With the Palace rear-guard too slow to close down the
danger, Davis was able to steer his shot into the far corner.
It was the Northern Ireland midfielder's first league goal
in 489 days, with his previous strike also coming against Palace.
Hodgson's team pushed hard for an equaliser, but Saints
goalkeeper Fraser Forster made fine saves to deny close-range efforts from
Christian Benteke and Jason Puncheon either side of half-time.
The statistics made grim reading for Hodgson as Palace set
another unwanted top-flight record, surpassing the 438 minutes Newcastle went
without a goal in the 2005-06 season.
Southampton held firm in the closing stages to clinch their
first win since August 19.
Virgil van Dijk came off the bench for his first Southampton
appearance since asking to leave during a failed attempt to force a move to
Liverpool before the transfer deadline.