Cheltenham manager Mark Yates admitted he was shell-shocked after his side failed to beat fellow title hopefuls Port Vale.

Substitute Daryl Duffy missed a chance to bag all three points deep in injury time of the 1-1 draw and the Robins boss said it would have been a deserved victory.

"I can't believe we missed that chance at the end," Yates said. "We just expected Daryl to stroke it into the empty net. Everyone was up on the bench and I thought it would have been just what we deserved.

"I thought we were excellent. They are a really good side - you can see that - they have some big strong lads and Pope has got 20-odd goals already. We kept going until the 93rd minute but just a bit shell-shocked that we have not won the game. We had numerous chances to win it.

"We were disappointed with the goal but more than happy with the performance against a side that has been there all season. We passed it really well and created lots of chances. We thoroughly deserved to win but you don't always get what you deserve. We have to make sure we go to Rochdale next week and get three points."

Darren Carter fired Cheltenham into a 62nd minute lead, turning the ball home after the Vale defence only half cleared a Chris Zebroski cross. And the goal followed a string of good chances from the home side with Billy Jones hitting the post, Marlon Pack having a header cleared off the line and Jake Taylor being denied by a fine save from Chris Neal.

But Cheltenham's lead lasted just five minutes before Louis Dodds levelled, the ball breaking to the striker after a Tom Pope header had been saved by home keeper Scott Brown.

And Vale boss Micky Adams admitted he had discussed things with his goalscorer going into the game, and he said: "I had a chat with Louis in midweek. He was one of the individuals I pulled to one side.

"He scored two great goals at Fleetwood and he then went 10 games where I've picked him and he's not scored a goal. I was left scratching my head a little bit with him.

"I've put him back in there and he has worked hard for the team but also he's got his goal which will hopefully kick start him."