Dover Athletic 0 Crystal Palace 4

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

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

TheLondon club went into the break two goals to the good thanks to a brace fromdefender, Scott Dann. His first was a tap in at the back post as a Palace crosseluded the Dover defence to leave him with an opportunity he couldn’t reallymiss. The second was a more conventional centre-half goal, as he met a cornerwith his head to power the ball into the back of the net relativelyunchallenged.

ThePremier League team continued to create chances in the second period and werefinally able to breathe comfortably with the game secure, as the slipperyDwight Gayle drove at the heart of the Dover defence, found space in the boxand drilled his shot home from a tight angle. Better was to come near the endas Kevin Doyle put the cherry on the cake with a close-range effort to make it4-0 on the day, leaving Pardew plenty to ponder on as he looks to move his newside away from the relegation zone in the league.

Pleasingas 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’sfirst win since November in all competitions. Pardew will seek to remedy thatsooner rather than later, but performances like this one will help to buildconfidence in the short-term.

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