Darrell Clarke refused to be too hard on his Port Vale players after they were pegged back by visitors Bradford in a 1-1 draw.
The Valiants led through James Wilson’s goal after 55 minutes and were on course to go level on points with League Two leaders Forest Green.
But Lee Angol’s header 15 minutes from time gave Bradford a deserved share of the spoils.
Clarke said: “It was a scrappy game and we weren’t at our best, but we’re disappointed we didn’t hold on for the three points.
“I’m not going to be too harsh on my players, though, we’ve been on a great run and we continue that by taking a point.
“It’s League Two football, all the games are big challenges. They were tough to break down at times and we were loose in possession, sloppy, but created one or two chances. We weren’t at our free-flowing best, that’s for sure.
“They’ve gone to a lot of the top teams and won, so we knew they were a hard team to play against. I thought it was a pretty equal game. Bradford are one of the bigger clubs in this league, they’ve got a talented squad of players, like ourselves, so it was an evenly-fought contest.
“I’m not going to be too harsh on my players, because we could comfortably have come off there with the three points. It becomes a massive shock to the system when you lose, or even draw, after the run we’ve been on. We’ll take the point, take the positives from the game and move on towards the next one.”
While lamenting his side’s lack of cutting edge in front of goal, Bradford boss Derek Adams was full of praise for his goalscorer.
Angol came on for his first league game in three months following a hamstring injury and Adams admits he will have to carefully manage the striker’s comeback and resist the temptation to over-use him.
“We’ve got to be better at taking those big opportunities when they come along,” said Adams. “We know we’ve got the best expected goals in the league, that means we’re creating some really big chances and we’ve done that again today without taking them.
“We’ve got to be more clinical, but we’re getting players coming back from injury. It’s difficult for me as a manager because I know what type of player Lee can be, but I have to weigh up the possibility of having to not play him as many minutes as I would like, but that’s just the nature of the injury he’s had.
“You saw the supporters when he scored, it was a great ball in by Matty Foulds and a fantastic header.
“Over the 90 minutes it was a first half that was cagey from both sides and the second half was a great game to watch.”