Dover Athletic 0 Crystal Palace 4

Despite bus-related issues on the way to the ground, Crystal Palace endured few problems on the pitch against their non-league opponents, Dover Athletic, with a confident and convincing display to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup. New boss, Alan Pardew, revealed afterwards that the players and staff had to walk the last twenty minutes or so of their journey to the Crabble Athletic Ground, after the team bus couldn’t get up a hill bear the ground.

Palace were into their stride quickly on a slightly bobbly surface, moving the ball around quickly and creating several chances in the first-half. They players entrusted with their cup progress were clearly keen to make an impression on the new manager and playing for their futures. Wilfried Zaha in particular was back to his tricky best, weaving this way and that and doing his trademark stopovers. In central-midfield, Welsh international Joe Ledley and Barry Bannan were dominant and ensured that the away side remained on the front foot for much of the match.

The London club went into the break two goals to the good thanks to a brace from defender, Scott Dann. His first was a tap in at the back post as a Palace cross eluded the Dover defence to leave him with an opportunity he couldn’t really miss. The second was a more conventional centre-half goal, as he met a corner with his head to power the ball into the back of the net relatively unchallenged.

The Premier League team continued to create chances in the second period and were finally able to breathe comfortably with the game secure, as the slippery Dwight Gayle drove at the heart of the Dover defence, found space in the box and drilled his shot home from a tight angle. Better was to come near the end as Kevin Doyle put the cherry on the cake with a close-range effort to make it 4-0 on the day, leaving Pardew plenty to ponder on as he looks to move his new side away from the relegation zone in the league.

Pleasing as this diversion was from the day to day grind of the Premier League, especially when a team is down at the wrong end of the table, it was Palace’s first win since November in all competitions. Pardew will seek to remedy that sooner rather than later, but performances like this one will help to build confidence in the short-term.

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