Palace into round five after routine win over Hartlepool
Crystal Palace 2
Hartlepool United 0
Crystal Palace are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup after a routine 2-0 win over League Two Hartlepool United at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
Early strikes from Marc Guehi and Michael Olise subdued the visitors early on – and they never really looked like recovering.
It took Palace just four minutes to break the deadlock, Olise’s free-kick from the right hand side tapped in by the unmarked Guehi.
Pools immediately went up the other end and very nearly grabbed an equaliser – Mark Shelton’s header at the far post saved by Jack Butland in the Palace goal. It was to prove their best chance of a goal all afternoon.
Palace could have made it 2-0 on 15 minutes. Eberechi Eze’s deflected effort completely wrong-footing Ben Killip in the Hartlepool goal, and going just the wrong side of the post as far as the Premier League side were concerned.
Olise then went from provider to scorer on 22 minutes. Palace won the ball back high up the pitch, Olise beat his man Timi Odusina, cut inside and finished in style to calm any nerves in the Eagles ranks.
Joel Ward almost got in on the action on 34 minutes but his shot was saved.
The visitors were really struggling to get any sort of a foothold in the game, and every time they cleared the ball it seemed to come straight back at them as Palace mounted wave after wave of attacks.
Jean-Philippe Mateta hit the post from just four yards out soon after the restart when it looked easier to score – Jeffrey Schlupp blazing the rebound over.
Schlupp almost immediately made up for his miss but curled an effort wide of the right-hand post as Palace made a fast start to the second half, attacking the noisy Holmesdale Road end.
There was a seven-minute stoppage after 53 minutes as a Hartlepool fan was taken ill, but thankfully all was well in the stands after assistance from both teams’ medical staff.
The pause seemed to knock Palace momentarily out of their stride, and the visitors experienced their best passage of play. Luke Molyneux forced Butland into a save low down with his foot, as the Monkey Hangers pushed for a route back into the game.
Patrick Vieira had made just four changes to the side which lost 3-1 here to Liverpool a fortnight ago.
The Palace boss was clearly taking seriously a competition he won five times as a player – four with Arsenal and one with Manchester City.
But on 71 minutes, and possibly with Wednesday’s trip to Norwich in mind, the Frenchman made that thing which gives us journos nightmares - the triple substitution. Nathaniel Clyne, Will Hughes and Odsonne Eduard replacing Tyrick Mitchell, Schlupp and Eze.
It appeared to spark Palace back into life, and Mateta should have done better when firing his 78th-minute effort straight at Killip and being immediately withdrawn by Vieira for Christian Benteke.
There was still time for a senior debut for Tayo Adaramola, who came off the bench with five minutes to go, but had more like 15 to impress the Palace faithful following the earlier stoppage.
A flare was thrown on to the pitch from the visiting section as the game petered out – not much of a way to show appreciation for Palace’s subsidising of their travel to this game.
Palace didn’t set the world alight today, but had far too much for Pools – and take their place in the hat.
Crystal Palace: Butland, Ward (Adaramola, 85), Mitchell, Milivojevic, Guehi, Olise, Eze, Mateta (Benteke, 79), Schlupp, Gallagher, Kelly
Hartlepool: Killip, Sterry, Ferguson (Fletcher, 90+7), Liddle (White, 60), Odusina, Shelton (Grey, 60), Bogle (Cullen 90+6), Molyneux, Byrne, Crawford (Holohan, 82), Morris
Referee: Peter Bankes