Jon Walters rewarded Sam Allardyce, the first manager to hand him a professional contract, by condemning his Blackburn side to a 1-0 defeat.

Stoke's summer signing scored his first Barclays Premier League goal for the club by finding the target in the 47th minute. Walters, 27, a £2.75million buy from Ipswich, started out at Bolton - he was at Blackburn in his youth - when Allardyce was in charge.

Allardyce said: "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. Full marks and all credit to him because it has been a long journey through the lower divisions. You don't often see a young man today going down the leagues and getting back to the very top level."

He added: "Obviously I am gutted he scored because it has won them the game. That's the most frustrating thing for me, the way we conceded it.

"You don't often see our central defenders messing it up like that to let a nothing situation develop into a goalscoring situation. 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.

Pulis said: "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 since we signed him. It shows there are players out there that, given the opportunity, can come to the table and score."

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