Crystal Palace hit four past non-league Dover to progress
Scott Dann, Dwight Gayle and Kevin Doyle ensured Alan Pardew was given a winning start to life as Crystal Palace manager as the Eagles avoided FA Cup third-round embarrassment at Dover.
Pardew – finally announced as Neil Warnock’s replacement on Saturday – was in the dugout at the Crabble and was able to preside over a 4-0 win against the Conference side.
Centre-half Dann tucked away two first-half goals to stave off any threat of a shock and Gayle added a third to put the result beyond doubt, before forgotten man Doyle added a late fourth.
The Republic of Ireland striker had made just four appearances prior to this one, failing to make an impact during his loan from Wolves. His showing from the bench could give Pardew something to think about ahead of the expiry of that agreement later this month.
That is one of the things Pardew will have to contemplate over the coming days, but in the short-term he will be happy to be up and running. To their credit, Palace never really looked like being fodder for a shock, starting well and continuing to probe.
Striker Glenn Murray, back after a loan spell with Reading, got a fine header in but goalkeeper Andy Rafferty threw himself to his left and pushed behind.
That was just a temporary let-off, though. Ten minutes in Wilfried Zaha’s cross was inadvertently flicked into Dann’s path and, from six yards out, he was able to beat Rafferty.
All Palace’s best chances were falling to Dann and just after the half-hour he could have had a second, losing his footing as he looked to convert Stuart O’Keefe’s dangerous cross.
But with the ball going out for a corner, Dann had an immediate chance to redeem himself and did so, heading in Barry Bannan’s corner.
Joel Ward was unlucky not to add a third before the break too, with Rafferty doing well to adjust his body at his near post as the full-back whipped in a 25-yarder that was deflected.
Palace continued to attack after the break, Martin Kelly shooting over and then Gayle having a hit charged down, while the striker also felt he had a case for a penalty when he appeared to be brought down by Tom Bonner.
Gayle would have the last laugh, though, getting into the box with 68 minutes gone and being too quick for Connor Essam, showing good footwork before drilling in a third.
The fourth came three minutes from the end, Doyle on hand to tap in after Bannan’s delightful ball got Jerome Thomas free, with his cross right on the money.