WILL the magic of the FA Cup strike at the Crabble Athletic Ground on Sunday? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) looks at the big game.
Dover Athletic v Crystal Palace | Sunday 13.00 | BT Sport 1
Luton in 2013 are the only previous non-league team to beat a Premier League side in FA Cup competition. That’s the task that lies in wait for Dover on Sunday as they bid to write their names into history and FA Cup folklore.
It’s a damming stat and one that’s unlikely to change this weekend. Sportingbet offer best price about a home victory and at 7/1, it seems much too skinny for anyone looking to back an underdog.
To put that price into perspective, Newcastle were 11/2 to beat Chelsea in the Premier League earlier this season. There are nine league positions between those two teams yet 7/1’s the best price you’ll get on Dover with 87 places between the hosts and Palace. Yeah.
It’s only the second time the Whites have reached this stage of the competition and although Palace have W2-D3-L9 of their last 14 away FA Cup ties and W1-D2-L5 in their last eight games in this competition, it’s worth noting the visitors to boast a strong record when taking on the minnows having W14-D1-L1 in 16 games against non-league opposition.
Chris Kinnear’s hosts come into the fixture on the back of an excellent spell in the Conference Premier. Having started the campaign with just seven points from a possible 33, Dover have since W8-D6-L2 of their 16 league matches, netting in all bar two.
Recent form at their Crabble Athletic Ground home has also been good with W6-D2-L0 in their last eight and in their last Conference game they held table-topping Barnet to an enjoyable 2-2 draw on their travels. All sounds good.
However, they have failed to notch in seven of their 14 games against top-half teams and when hosting the league’s elite, they’ve not troubled the scorers in five of their seven matches (W1-D2-L4).
It’s a dull selection but I’m more of an unromantic FA Cup punter than most and it’s Betfred’s 17/10 on an away win ‘to nil’ that holds most appeal. Palace will likely ring the changes but should still prove too good for their non-league hosts with the 17/10 a nice price considering the difference between the two teams.
Dover Athletic v Crystal Palace – Crystal Palace win ‘to nil’ (17/10 Betfred)