Lambert brace as Saints march on
Rickie Lambert hit the 30-goal mark to fire Southampton a step closer to the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
The injury-hit Eagles almost grabbed a shock early lead when Kagisho Dikgacoi's header was tipped over the crossbar by Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.
But the Championship's leading scorer netted either side of half-time to sink Palace and send Southampton three points clear at the top.
Lambert has now hit 87 goals in three years for the south-coast side and the prolific 30-year-old, who has spent his entire career in the lower divisions, looks certain to finally get a crack at the top flight.
With five games to go Nigel Adkins' side are on the brink of back-to-back promotions, sitting three points ahead of Reading - who play Brighton on Tuesday - while crucially also keeping third-placed West Ham at arm's length.
By contrast Palace's season, which has included a run to the Carling Cup semi-finals, is fizzling out after a third straight defeat.