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Scott Parker praises Tom Cairney for equaliser against Bristol City

Scott Parker singled out skipper Tom Cairney for special praise after seeing his Fulham side come from behind to earn a deserved point in a 1-1 draw at Bristol City.

It looked as though the visitors might pay for not converting their chances when Nahki Wells headed City into a 70th minute lead following a corner.

But Fulham rallied superbly and Cairney capped an eye-catching contribution with a precious 84th minute equaliser, finding the bottom corner of the net with a sweet left-footed finish from just outside the box.

Both sides needed a win to boost promotion hopes in the hugely competitive Sky Bet Championship, but in the end Parker and opposite number Lee Johnson were satisfied with a point apiece.

Parker said: “What pleased me most was the character the players showed after falling behind. They could have let heads drop, but instead got level and looked the only team likely to win in the closing stages.

“That sort of resilience is something we have worked because it wasn’t always evident over the first half of the season.

“It is a quality we are going to need over the final weeks of the campaign if we are to achieve our aim.

“Tom Cairney took his goal superbly and was outstanding throughout the game. I thought he was head and shoulder above every other player.

“We all know his quality on the ball, but in the last three games he has showed much more than that and today it was a complete performance.

“I felt we should have had a penalty for a foul on Tom late on. Their keeper looked to take him out before pouncing on the ball.

“There also looked to be a player offside when Bristol City scored. It seemed one of their lads cleaned out Tim Ream. I need to see it again to be sure.

“But I am not going to complain because there were so many positives in how we played. While a point isn’t ideal, it is something more to build on and if we keep showing that character we will be fine.

“We created some really good chances in the first half and, while I didn’t like what I saw at the start of the second half, we finished the game really strongly.

“Now we focus on the next game. That is the way I take things without looking too far ahead.”

Johnson also had cause for satisfaction over his team’s efforts and pointed out: “We had some young players out there and a lot of untried partnerships.

“We lost Nathan Baker to a concussion injury in the first half. He is a brave defender, but I have spoken to him about the number of injuries he picks up.

“We desperately wanted to mark our 125th anniversary match with a win, but I think the reaction of our fans at the end said it all.

“I believe their applause was partly for the way Fulham played and partly for the way we combated a very good side.

“We are still a work in progress, but somehow we have to find a way of getting sufficient results over our remaining games to be in the promotion shake-up.

“That is certainly the aim and if the players continue to put bodies on the line to protect our goal like they did today it will certainly help.

“We have missed Korey Smith to one injury after another in the last couple of seasons and he showed today how important he is to us.

“Niki Maenpaa has made some important saves, including an outstanding one to keep out a near post header, and deserves praise for coming in to replace the injured Dan Bentley in the last couple of games without much recent match practice.

“We know what a good player Bobby Reid is and I wish we still had him. We had to defend really well to stop him scoring out there.

“Today was a really big occasion for our club and I hope the efforts of the players will be replicated many times by City teams over the next 125 years.”

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