DANNY Ings scored his eighth goal in eight games as Saints made it seven points from a possible nine over the festive period. 

After a goalless first half, James Tomkins headed Crystal Palace in front at the start of the second half before Ings seized on a mistake to score his eighth goal in as many starts.

The Saints striker capitalised on a poor Palace pass to equalise with his 14th goal of the season in all competitions.

Ralph Hasenhuttl made two changes to the team that started at Chelsea with Ings one of two players recalled, along with Sofiane Boufal.

Che Adams, Boufal and Ings started a Premier League game together for the first time since August, with the latter two replacing Stuart Armstrong and Michael Obafemi. 

Palace had the ball in the net in the 15th minute only for Saints to benefit from VAR once again. Wilfried Zaha slalomed his way past Cedric and James Ward-Prowse before teeing up Max Meyer, who side-footed in from the edge of the six-yard box. But the goal was disallowed for a fractional offside against the Palace winger.

Well organised in defence and with pace in the form of Zaha and Jordan Ayew, Palace were always a threat on the counter, while Saints weaved intricate passing patterns but without a cutting edge during the first half.

Luka Milivojevic was booked for bringing down Boufal in the centre circle and then, after being spoken to at length by referee Andy Madley, the Palace captain gave away a free kick by fouling Redmond.

Ward-Prowse created the first good chance for Saints with the dead ball, whipping it from the right flank to the far post where the unmarked Jan Bednarek sidefooted over.

Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita then dropped a Ward-Prowse corner, but the visitors were quickest to the second ball.

As half-time approached, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg drove over a 30-yarder and Boufal’s dancing feet nearly fashioned an opportunity, while Ings continued to delight with some sublime link play.

But Palace were ahead in the 50th minute when Milivojevic’s chipped free-kick from the right was headed in by Tomkins, from the edge of the six-yard box.

Palace soon threatened again. Zaha brushed aside challenges from Cedric and Hojbjerg during a powerful run down the right, before trying to tee up Meyer, who was brilliantly dispossessed in the penalty area by Ward-Prowse.

Saints struggled to find a way past Palace’s nine-man rearguard until Ings was gifted the equaliser.

A sloppy pass from right-back Martin Kelly was out of Milovojevic’s reach but perfectly weighted for the irrepressible Ings, who slotted his Christmas present into the bottom corner.

Moments later, substitute Moussa Djenepo cut in from the left, shifted the ball on to his right foot and fired a powerful strike that Guaita did well to save.

Djenepo made a big difference after replacing Adams.

Redmond was pushed forward as Ings’ strike partner for the last 25 minutes, with Djenepo and Stuart Armstrong on the flanks.

Djenepo continued to be a nuisance down the left, and provided a cross that Ings headed over as Saints pushed for a winner.

Ward-Prowse was denied another free-kick goal by a diving Guaita in the 86th minute and a quickfire Saints move sparked by Djenepo ended with the ball deflected behind for a corner.

Saints looked the more likely to score a winner but will settle for an extension of their unbeaten run, with the draw a fair result.

SAINTS: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Boufal (Armstrong 68), Redmond, Adams (Djenepo 63), Ings.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Guaita, Kelly, Tomkins, Sakho, Riedewald, c, McCarthy, McArthur, Meyer (Kouyate 84), Ayew, Zaha.