Jon Walters strikes early as Stoke dominate first leg against Hajduk Split

JON Walters' early header means Stoke hold a narrow 1-0 advantage against Hadjuk Split after the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie at the Britannia Stadium.

The Potters, playing in major European competition for the first time in 37 years, took the lead in the third minute when Walters was allowed space to nod in Matthew Etherington's measured cross.

Despite dominating for much of the match thereafter, though, they were unable to find the second goal that would make next week's trip to Croatia for the second leg more comfortable, as tiredness began to tell on Tony Pulis' players.

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Despite being relative novices in Europe compared to their opponents, it took no time for Stoke to find their rhythm against Hajduk and they were soon in front.

Etherington collected Rory Delap's pass on the left flank and delivered a delightful cross on to the head of Walters, who calmly dispatched the ball into the corner of the net.

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.

"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.

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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.