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Walters haunts 'gutted' Allardyce

Jon Walters rewarded Sam Allardyce, the first manager to hand him a professional contract, by condemning his Blackburn side to defeat. Stoke's summer signing scored his first league goal for the club by finding the target in the 47th minute.

Walters, 27, a £2.75m buy from Ipswich, where he fell out with Roy Keane, started out at Bolton -- he was at Blackburn in his youth -- when Allardyce was in charge. And despite being angry at the way his side had allowed Walters to score in the 1-0 win, Allardyce had nothing but praise for the player.

"Jon has done exceptionally well. It is down to his dedication and hard work and maximising his ability that he has finally made it back to the top level," Allardyce said.

"All credit to him, because you don't often see a young man today going down the leagues and getting back to the very top level.

"I am gutted he scored today because you don't often see our central defenders messing it up like that. Bog-standard, basic defending has let us down."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis is pleased at the way Walters has settled in at the Britannia Stadium after moving up a division. It was a clinical finish as well after he was released by Matthew Etherington following a towering flick-on from Kenwyne Jones.

"Walters is a fantastic pro who has been taken in by the rest of the players because of his effort and commitment. I am really pleased to see him score because it is a reward for everything he has done. He has has been marvellous," said Pulis, whose side have moved up to seventh in the table.

Sunday Independent