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Ayew punishes brave 10-man Grimsby

Crystal Palace 1 Grimsby Town 0

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Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew in action with Grimsby's Luke Hendrie. Photo: Ian Walton/Reuters

Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew in action with Grimsby's Luke Hendrie. Photo: Ian Walton/Reuters

REUTERS

Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew in action with Grimsby's Luke Hendrie. Photo: Ian Walton/Reuters

With less than two minutes on the clock, Michael Jolley looked up at the heavens and shook his head in disbelief. The Grimsby manager had just seen defender Andrew Fox dismissed - with a little help from the video assistant referee (VAR) - for a poor tackle on Andros Townsend and faced the prospect of playing almost the entire match against Premier League opposition with 10 men.

But having been to the wilderness of the National League and back since they last visited Selhurst Park in 2003, Grimsby are made of stern stuff and it took until the 86th minute for their resolve to finally be broken by substitute Jordan Ayew's header from Jeffrey Schlupp's free-kick.

For Jolley, the former investment banker who began his coaching career at Palace's academy, it was a cruel way to lose but he will be extremely proud with the way his side stuck to their task after such an early setback, with James McKeown making a string of excellent saves to frustrate the hosts.

This was the first time these sides have met in the FA Cup since Grimsby beat a non-league Palace team 1-0 in 1908.

Home manager Roy Hodgson made nine changes from their win at Wolves on Wednesday but included Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha in attack.

Grimsby, who came into the match having seen their four-match winning streak end at home against Mansfield on New Year's Day, were looking to end a 19-year wait to reach the fourth round but shipped a huge blow inside the first 100 seconds. Townsend was going nowhere when he received the ball just inside the opposition's half but an over-exuberant lunge by Fox caught the forward on the shin. He was initially shown a yellow card, which was upgraded to red after a signal from the VAR.

Palace attacked relentlessly, mustering 14 shots, but the visitors made it to the break unscathed.

The theme continued in the second half as the hosts continued to press forward but their struggles highlighted the recurring issues for Hodgson's side in front of goal. Cheikhou Kouyaté hit the post with a header, before Ayew, who scored his first goal for the club in the victory over Wolves, came on and made his mark.

Sunday Indo Sport