Scott Parker said referee Jeremy Simpson ‘made a big mistake’ as Fulham were denied a late penalty which would have given them a point.
The Whites staged a stirring late rally – fuelled by an Abou Kamara goal – and appeared to have saved themselves deep into injury time when sub Neeskens Kebano was sent flying by Bristol City’s Callum O’Dowda.
But Simpson was unmoved, much to the fury of home fans and players.
Even City boss Lee Johnson admitted it was: 2definitely a heart in the mouth moment.”
Parker said: “The referee’s obviously made a big mistake. That can happen – obviously human error. That’s when you want VAR in the Championship.
“Obviously you want it to go to VAR and I think probably in that time it’s an instant reverse of the decision, really. It’s one of those things. We dust ourselves off and go again.
“The game wasn’t in control at times, but I don’t want to criticise. The ref’s got a tough job and obviously he’s making decisions on split calls and I think obviously we’re disappointed we’ve not got the penalty late on.
“As that play was developing, and as Neeskins [Kebano] got in front on him [O’Dowda] I’m thinking ‘you need to look for a penalty here’, he’s going to maybe clip the back of his leg. That’s how I see it.
“But it is what it is and Bristol got the win today.”
Parker added: “I’m ultimately proud of my team. Three or four weeks ago we lost to Hull here, the stadium cleared out and probably the fans lost a bit of belief in that sense.
“We couldn’t get back in it. I felt that thee players did in that game as well. I didn’t look at my players and think ‘you know what, you can get back in this.’
“At 2-0 [down] today with 10 minutes left on the clock, every one of my players was in the ascendancy. They didn’t give up and they kept going.
“On another day, the one that hits the bar, the penalty decision, which was obviously a penalty, it could turn a different way. I’m proud of the players today.”