Match ends, Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 1.
Danny Ings capitalised on an error by Martin Kelly to earn Southampton a share of the spoils at home to Crystal Palace.
Ings pounced on Kelly's misplaced backpass before slotting confidently past Vicente Guaita for his 12th league goal of the season.
James Tomkins - making his 350th career appearance - had given the visitors the lead early in the second half, heading Luka Milivojevic's delivery into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Max Meyer thought he had put Palace ahead before half-time, but the German's effort was disallowed by the video assistant referee for a marginal offside call against Wilfried Zaha.
Southampton threw caution to the wind following Ings' equaliser and went close to snatching all three points through James Ward-Prowse, but the midfielder's goal-bound free-kick was palmed to safety by Guaita.
The result lifts Saints four points clear of the relegation zone, while Palace stay ninth on 27 points.
Saints slow out of the blocks
Superb back-to-back wins at Aston Villa and Chelsea had given Southampton a three-point cushion over the bottom three going into this game, but there was little for the home fans to cheer in a dire first half at St Mary's.
Neither side managed to register a single shot on target, with Meyer's disallowed goal the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock before the interval.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's side improved marginally in the second half, but it wasn't until after Ings' equaliser - which came from Southampton's first shot on target - that the hosts began to apply serious pressure on the Palace goal.
Second-half substitute Moussa Djenepo put in another lively display off the bench and went close to giving Saints the lead moments after Ings' goal, but Guaita did well to palm the ball to safety.
The Palace custodian then made another smart save from Ings' header at the near post, before the former Burnley and Liverpool man nodded over the crossbar from a central position inside the area.
Ward-Prowse's dipping free-kick looked destined for the back of the net, but Guaita got another strong hand to the ball as Palace held on for a point.
Southampton have now lost just two of their last eight league matches but with games against Tottenham, Leicester and Wolves looming, the hosts may be disappointed not to have claimed a third straight victory.
Palace hold on after first-half VAR call
Roy Hodgson's side had their goalkeeper to thank late on but may feel hard done by after Meyer was denied by VAR in the first half.
Zaha did superbly to set up the former Schalke man, but the Ivorian was deemed to be marginally ahead of play when put through by James McArthur in the build-up.
The visitors looked comfortable after Tomkins' opener, but Hodgson will be bitterly disappointed by the self-inflicted nature of Southampton's equaliser.
Kelly was under little pressure as he attempted to play a simple pass back to Tomkins but succeeded only in playing in Ings, who finished with aplomb.
Guaita then saved brilliantly from Djenepo, Ings and Ward-Prowse to preserve a point for the Eagles, who remain in a comfortable position in the top half of the table - despite going into their final game of 2019 without seven first-team regulars.
Hodgson has intimated Palace will try to sign "a few" players in the January transfer window to bolster their injury-ravaged squad.
Man of the match - Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
Ings continues purple patch - the stats
- Southampton have lost just two of their last eight Premier League games (W4 D2 L2), after losing six of the seven before that.
- Crystal Palace have scored a league-low four Premier League goals in the first half of games this season, with a league-high 78% of their goals in the competition coming after the break (14/18).
- Fourteen of Crystal Palace's 20 Premier League games this season were goalless at half-time, six more than any other side.
- Seven of Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins' 12 Premier League goals have been headers.
- Southampton striker Danny Ings has scored 12 goals in his 20 Premier League appearances this season, his best haul in a top-flight campaign.
- Ings has netted 50% of his team's Premier League goals this season (12/14), the highest proportion of any player in the top flight this season.
'We felt we could turn the game' - what they said
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, speaking to Match of the Day: "It's a more than deserved point. We had the much bigger chances today and it was a good save from Moussa Djenepo.
"We knew it was a difficult game against this opponent when you're 1-0 down, because they sit deep. The subs gave us a little bit of a boost, particularly Djenepo on the left.
"We felt that we could turn the game completely after that but we're not unhappy with the point. It was similar to the game here last season against them."
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, speaking to Match of the Day: "I thought we did extremely well to get ourselves into the lead, especially after suffering the VAR disappointment.
"When the goal came, I thought we were starting to show control. But their equaliser was a technical mistake, it happens in football and it gave them a new lease of life."
On transfers: "We talk about it, the chairman and Doug Freedman. There's a genuine desire and interest to bring players in who can help us out. We had that desire in the summer and couldn't bring it off, but it's still there."
Saints welcome Tottenham Hotspur to St Mary's on New Year's Day (15:00 GMT), while Palace travel to struggling Norwich City on the same day (17:30).
- 2Cédric Soares
- 19BoufalSubstituted forS Armstrongat 68'minutes
- 16Ward-ProwseBooked at 79mins
- 10AdamsSubstituted forDjenepoat 63'minutes
- 17S Armstrong
- 7MeyerSubstituted forKouyatéat 84'minutes
- 4MilivojevicBooked at 32mins
- 18McArthurBooked at 85mins
- 9J Ayew
- Andy Madley
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Crystal Palace 1.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by James McCarthy.
Attempt saved. James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Luka Milivojevic with a cross.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Jack Stephens.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Luka Milivojevic.
Foul by Moussa Djenepo (Southampton).
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
James McArthur (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Cheikhou Kouyaté replaces Max Meyer.
Attempt missed. Danny Ings (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Moussa Djenepo with a cross.
Attempt saved. Cédric Soares (Southampton) header from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with a cross.
Attempt saved. Danny Ings (Southampton) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by James Tomkins.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Vicente Guaita.