Paul Tisdale admitted MK Dons were sub-par during their 1-1 draw with Port Vale – but still felt they had enough to get all three points.
In a thrilling start to the second half, Tom Conlon’s stylish finish gave the visitors the lead against the run of play, but David Wheeler’s smart finish from Jake Hesketh’s cross four minutes later levelled things up.
The two goals were sandwiched by a first-half penalty miss from Dons top-scorer Kieran Agard and a late miss from Chuks Aneke.
It means Tisdale’s side fell out of the automatic promotion spots at the expense of Bury – and the manager lamented his team’s profligacy in front of goal.
“Whatever we say about the performance, we still had those two great chances with the penalty and the Chuks one-on-one near the end,” he said.
“Despite the missed chances, I have to say I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded as it was a real lacklustre start to the second-half.
“We’ve tried hard today, but we lost our rhythm towards the end and it petered away. Like I said, we had our opportunities, but it wasn’t to be and we now look forward to the next one.”
In a final period of few chances, Aneke found the outside of the post when handed a glorious chance to win it.
But Tisdale sounded an optimistic note ahead of his side’s upcoming clashes against Colchester and fellow promotion rivals Mansfield.
He added: “We aren’t expecting anybody to hand it to us (a top-three position). It’s going to be a hard, exciting last couple of weeks and we have to relish it.
“After Friday night (a 2-1 win at Notts County), we were really pleased with ourselves and yes, (this time) not so much, but it’s a point on the board and we’re still in with a shout, so there’s plenty to play for.”
Meanwhile, Port Vale boss John Askey credited his side’s spirit on the field, despite them having already guaranteed their safety from relegation.
“We didn’t have a lot to play for apart from pride but the players gave it everything and it certainly bodes well for the future,” he said.
“Of course, massive credit goes to Scott Brown, who’s been our saviour again. I’ve been saying it all season with the saves he’s made but the stop from the follow-up off the penalty is outstanding.
“It’s a little disappointing we got a little sloppy after we went a goal up but I can’t fault our lads. If you can get a result here, you can anywhere in the division and they’ve shown what they’re capable of.”