David Worrall scored his fourth goal of the season on Saturday as Vale drew with Grimsby Town in Sky Bet League Two, but the midfielder was disappointed that his strike did not prove to be the winner.
With nine minutes played, he latched onto a cross from Marcus Harness before finding the bottom corner to put the Valiants ahead.
However, despite controlling large parts of the game, the hosts found an equaliser through James Berrett in stoppage time to deny Neil Aspin’s men their first win of 2018.
“That one hurts more than any game this season I would say - it was ours,” said Worrall.
“We’ve defended well as a team, but then one moment cost us. I don’t really know what happened, but it just hurts.
“The way we were defending, I had it in my head that it was going to be one-nil, I thought we were winning it and moving closer to safety.
“But we’ve got the point and results have gone our way, so we go into Barnet looking to win.”
In the absence of leading goal scorer, Tom Pope, Anton Forrester was chosen to lead the line for Vale at Blundell Park before Tyrone Barnett replaced him after 67 minutes.
Worrall believes that both forwards did well when they were out on the pitch, but he acknowledges that it is time for other players to step up, including himself.
On his goal, he said: “I just saw the ball come in and I watched as my man go with Anton, so I told him to block him and he did. I then got my touch and I wanted to hit it as hard as I could, but it went in.
“I knew coming into the game without Popey, it was my turn to step up for the team and I did do.
“After that, I think I could have got another, but it hit the outside of the post so I had to settle for the one.
“Anton and Tyrone have done very well and I don’t know how their ‘keeper kept them out - the save from Anton was probably the best I’ve seen this season. On another day, I’m not sure anyone saves it.”
With a quick turnaround before the next fixture, a trip to the Hive to face Barnet on Tuesday night, Worrall is hopeful of picking up a positive result.
“We went for it today as a team, we’ve accepted it and we need to just move on because there is nothing we can do about it apart from focusing on the next one.
“It’s a massive game. We need to win it, but no matter what, we can not let them take the three points because that would put us right into a position that we don’t want to be in.
“We’ve got a little bit of a gap at the moment and we need to extend it however we can.”