Micky Adams described Port Vale's 2-2 draw at Rochdale as an 'emotional rollercoaster' after his side were denied victory by a Jason Kennedy header in time added on.
The Valiants were poised to bolster their bid for automatic promotion when Liam Chilvers made amends for an earlier own goal by heading the visitors in front, but Kennedy glanced home a Michael Rose cross at the death to prolong Vale's wait for a place in npower League One.
Though victory over Rochdale would not have been enough to confirm their promotion, Adams admitted he was not aware of that at the time of Kennedy's late leveller.
"It was an emotional rollercoaster," said Adams. "It looked as though Liam had won us the game and possible promotion, but even if we had won we wouldn't have been promoted. So while we are all disappointed to give that late goal away I thought it was a great performance.
"At the time we were hearing that we'd be promoted at 2-1, but that wasn't to be. We put a great effort in, really rolled our sleeves up and had a go. We defended very well and whether we did enough to win it I'm not too sure because it was two evenly balanced teams out there.
"I am always proud of my players when I see them put their all in to get a result for the club, and they did that. It was disappointing to concede late on but it's my job to lift them and we'll move on to the next game."
Rochdale went into the game on the back of three straight wins and manager Keith Hill was delighted with the commitment from his players, despite the fact they have little to play for.
"I think the supporters received value for money from that game, it's just a shame in a sense that we used to be involved in games like that and atmospheres like that with something riding on them," he said. "There was something riding it on it for the opposition but we also wanted to show our credentials.
"The opposition are a very good side with very good players, but considering some of the performances we put in I am just glad that we didn't lose that match, because we didn't deserve to lose it.
"There was a bit of fortune in the opening goal for us but the game didn't really open up as we wanted it to until the second half."