DANNY Ings marked his return from injury in style with a classy brace as Saints battled from a goal behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at St Mary’s, ending a five-match winless run.

Palace got off to a dream start, taking the lead inside just two minutes through Christian Benteke.

But Saints rallied, equalising through Ings, who had missed the past two matches with a hamstring problem. The hosts kept the game level going into half-time as Fraser Forster denied Luka Milivojevic from the penalty spot.

And that allowed the Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to turn the contest on its head early in the second period, thanks to a close-range Che Adams effort.

And the two scorers combined to sink the Eagles for good, with Adams slipping the ball through for Ings, who made no mistake in sealing the win.

Hasenhuttl made two changes from the team which lost to Liverpool at the weekend. Ings returned to start up front, while Takumi Minamino was also recalled, having been ineligible to face his parent club on Saturday. Theo Walcott and Nathan Tella dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile Palace made three alterations from the XI which defeated Sheffield United with Scott Dann, Jairo Riedewald and Jordan Ayew all in from the start.

Saints kicked off knowing their Premier League status was secure for another season, after Fulham’s relegation was confirmed following their defeat to Burnley on Monday night.

But any hope that may see a lift in performance from the hosts did not come to pass from the off as Palace took the early lead.

Milivojevic fired a free-kick into the box, which was collected by Benteke, who flicked the ball over the defence and nipped it away from a half-hearted Ings challenge before slamming in left-footed, through the legs of Forster.

Out of nothing, Saints levelled on 20 minutes. Nathan Redmond collected the ball on the left before picking out Ings with the cross. The striker held off Cheikhou Kouyate and fired a shot past Dann, goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and into the bottom corner. That strike marked the England forward’s 100th goal in professional club football.

Saints had their tails up with Redmond almost turning from provider to scorer, cutting in from the left and aiming towards the far corner, but Guaita got down well to turn behind.

The hosts were on top, going close to taking the lead through Jack Stephens.

But Palace got back on the front foot and wasted a golden opportunity to regaining the advantage. After Redmond’s clumsy challenge on Wilfried Zaha in the box, Milivojevic stepped up from the penalty spot, but was denied by Forster, diving to his left.

Saints almost got their noses in front before the half was out courtesy of a James Ward-Prowse free-kick, which flashed narrowly wide of the post.

Hasenhuttl turned to his bench at half-time, bringing on Mohammed Salisu in place of Jan Bednarek, who had been booked.

And Saints quickly completed the turnaround. Just three minutes into the second half, Ward-Prowse’s low corner found Stuart Armstrong on the edge of the box, whose shot deflected into the path of Scotland team-mate Adams. The striker, who had not scored for Saints since March 14, squeezed the ball in at the near post to put Hasenhuttl’s men in front.

Palace responded well with Forster alert to deny both Benteke and Ayew.

Stephens then escaped embarrassment just past the hour mark. After letting a pass from Salisu slip underneath his foot, Stephens was left chasing Benteke, charging down on goal. However, the defender got back well to make a vital block.

Roy Hodgson called for reinforcements as the game moved towards its final 20 minutes, with both Jeffrey Schlupp and Michy Batshuayi introduced.

But it was Saints who netted again. Ward-Prowse played the ball into the feet of Adams, who slid in Ings to expertly prod past Guaita, leaving Palace with no way back.

The victory lifts Saints up from 17th to 14th in the table, with three games to play.

Saints: Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek (Salisu, h-t), Vestergaard, Stephens; Ward-Prowse, Armstrong; Minamino, Redmond; Ings (Obafemi, 76), Adams.

Unused subs: Ferry, Diallo, Djenepo, Tella, Walcott, N’Lundulu, A McCarthy (g/k).

Booked: Bednarek, Vestergaard.

Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Dann, Mitchell; Eze, Milivojevic (Schlupp, 65), Riedewald; Ayew (Batshuayi, 72), Zaha, Benteke (Mateta, 78).

Unused subs: Kelly, Cahill, van Aanholt, J McCarthy, Townsend, Butland (g/k).

Booked: Ayew, Kouyate, Zaha.

Referee: Andy Madley.

VAR: Simon Hooper.