Jol denies his players lacked effort as Fulham are held goalless

FULHAM manager Martin Jol admitted he was disappointed not to beat RNK Split last night, but refuted suggestions that his players lacked effort.

The Cottagers endured a frustrating night in Croatia as they struggled to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.

After victories over Faroese minnows NSI Runavik and Northern Irish part-timers Crusaders, Fulham had been expected to secure another win at Dugopolje's Stadion Hrvatski Vitezovi. However, Split proved dogged opponents throughout, and Jol claimed a draw was a good result in the circumstances.

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"I am satisfied with the result," said the Dutchman after the match. "They played with three at the back and two wing-backs, which made it difficult to pressurise them.

"We drew 0-0 away from home against a good side. I'm not happy with the result, but satisfied. There certainly was not a lack of effort from my players."

Despite naming a strong-looking side, Jol's team struggled to break down the resilient Croatian outfit - to the disappointment of 86 travelling fans. Fulham were guilty of some poor passing and Split regularly found space down the flanks.

"They changed the formation, with three at the back," added Jol. "Normally we put more pressure on the centre-backs, but we had to drop off, which I don't like to do. But they had only three or four good chances, so that is the only thing we have to work on. We didn't do enough with the ball in their half and we have to do better."

Jonathan Walters scored the only goal of Stoke's Europa League third round qualifying tie against Hajduk Split at the Britannia Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland international nodded in from Matthew Etherington's cross after three minutes as the Potters made an impressive start.

Kenwyne Jones had a goal disallowed, before Dean Whitehead and Robert Huth came close, but a dominant Stoke could not extend their lead. The second leg takes place on 4 August.

St Patrick's Athletic face an uphill battle to reach the play-off round of the Europa League after losing the first leg of their third qualifying round tie 2-0 to Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine.

Artem Fedetskiy opened the scoring after 34 minutes and Belarus international Andrei Voronkov came off the bench to double the hosts' lead in stoppage time.