Micky Adams described Port Vale's 2-2 draw at Rochdale on Saturday afternoon as an 'emotional rollercoaster'.
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 Jason Kennedy glanced home a Michael Rose cross at the death to prolong Vale's wait for a place in 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."