Dagenham boss John Still was delighted with his team's positive approach which almost pulled off a shock victory at second-placed Port Vale, in a game that ended 1-1.

An expectant home crowd were willing Vale forward after Jennison Myrie-Williams had levelled Luke Howell's 72nd minute opener. But it was the visitors, whose victory over Wycombe on Saturday was their first in the league this season, who poured forward in the closing stages.

Howell should have added to his goal, which followed a mistake by Vale keeper Chris Neal, and substitute Dwight Gayle skied another gilt-edged chance high and wide. Still said: "We played really well against a good team and are moving in the right direction."

He added: "If you ask should we have won, I would say possibly, and if you ask could we have won, I would reply definitely. Luke should have done better with his chance and Dwight could have done better. He said he lost his footing just as he tried to strike the ball, so that was a bit unlucky.

"We were under pressure for the last 10 minutes of the first-half when Chris Lewington had made a couple of saves, but our back four were magnificent. After an hour of the game I felt we were really comfortable and I made positive substitutions to try and win it. I'm disappointed we didn't manage to do that, but I'm very pleased with the overall performance."

Much of the first-half was a hard fought and scrappy affair with goalkeepers Neal and Lewington largely redundant. Vale did build up a head of steam towards half-time as Ashley Vincent and then two attempts from Tom Pope finally warmed Lewington's fingers.

But it was the visitors who took the lead following a poor error by Neal, who had been Vale's hero in Saturday's victory at Bradford. Howell's powerfully struck 30-yard shot was fired straight at Neal, but the ball slipped through his fingers and rolled over the line.

Howell then blasted a much easier chance over the top from 12 yards and the miss proved costly as Myrie-Williams levelled in the 75th minute. Dagenham failed to clear from a goal-mouth scramble and the Vale winger drove a fierce shot which Lewington touched but couldn't keep out of the bottom right-hand corner of his net.

An expected avalanche of pressure from Vale failed to materialise and Gayle should have won it for the visitors when he blazed high and wide with the goal at his mercy. Vale boss Micky Adams said: "Chris (Neal) will be disappointed with his error, but he plays in a position where if he does something like that it proves costly.

"But he's been magnificent all season and has kept us in games, just like he did at Bradford on Saturday. I've got no doubts about his character and I know he will bounce back. Overall, I was very disappointed with what was a flat performance. The standards we have met both as a team and individually were just not met.