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Walters double sends timely message to Trap

Ireland international Jonathan Walters gave Giovanni Trapattoni food for thought last night as his double strike settled a dour tie at Cardiff City Stadium and earned Stoke an FA Cup fourth-round trip to Premier League rivals Wolves.

Given Robbie Keane's recent struggles, the Ireland manager will have appreciated the striker's impact, as Walters struck just 100 seconds into extra-time -- following a miserable, scoreless 90 minutes -- and then added a second goal during the closing stages.

For the opener, the Cardiff defence failed to track him for substitute Michael Tonge's inswinging corner, and Walters' header flew past stranded goalkeeper Tom Heaton. And Heaton could do little to prevent Walters scoring again six minutes from time, as he finished expertly from close range.

The Welsh side had frantic injury-time penalty appeals waved away by referee Peter Walton after substitute Michael Chopra went down, before Walters condemned them to a third-round exit.

Neither Heaton nor his opposite number Thomas Sorensen were seriously threatened during normal time, when poor skill levels and weak finishing combined to make it a forgettable tussle. But at least the crowd of 13,600 were spared penalties as Stoke sealed an appointment with Mick McCarthy's men later this month.

Irish Independent