Southampton will end the year rock bottom of the Premier League and facing a fight for survival after conceding a late goal to slide to a 2-1 defeat by Fulham on Saturday.
New manager Nathan Jones looked set to earn his first point in charge until Joao Palhinha’s powerful strike restored Fulham’s lead in the 88th minute.
Aleksandar Mitrovic then had a stoppage-time penalty saved by Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu but the damage was done as Saints suffered a fifth successive league defeat.
Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse’s superb free kick in the 56th minute looked like securing a draw which would have lifted his side off the foot of the table.
It made amends after he had scored at the wrong end in the 32nd minute by deflecting Joao Palhinha’s effort into his own goal, but it was to prove in vain.
Southampton have 12 points from 17 games while Fulham moved into the top seven with 25 points.
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