John Hughes saluted the effort of his goalkeeper Scott Flinders after Hartlepool, npower League One's bottom club, stood firm to collect a point from a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury.
Flinders produced magnificent late saves to repel efforts from Dave McAllister and Luke Summerfield while Tom Bradshaw also struck the bar for the hosts as Pools claimed only a 13th point of their troubled season.
Hughes was impressed with Flinders but also frustrated his team did not push on once Charlie Wyke, a young striker on loan from Middlesbrough, equalised with a deflected shot in the 55th minute to cancel out a lead given to Shrewsbury by Jon Taylor midway through the first half.
"We were delighted to get the equaliser and were saying 'Come on, let's go on and win the game' but we seemed to get afraid," said Hughes. "There was a chance we might win and trepidation started to creep into our game and we started sitting too deep.
"We stopped expressing ourselves and at the end we've got Scott Flinders to thank for two wonderful saves in the last five minutes to keep us in the match. In the dressing room afterwards everyone was saying well done to him but he still wasn't happy with his kicking. It shows you the perfectionist he is."
Shrewsbury are now unbeaten in eight games, an impressive run which has lifted them seven points clear of the relegation zone, but manager Graham Turner cut a frustrated figure.
"I felt we probably did enough in the last 15 minutes to have won it," he said. "We were unlucky as two outstanding saves from the goalkeeper and the underside of the bar stopped us getting all three points. But before that, for some unknown reason given the run we're on, I couldn't understand why we were so cautious.
"The number of times we gave the ball away was worrying. We lacked any sort of composure in that first hour or so but you could see how we can do it in that final 15 minutes when we really had a good go at it. We passed the ball with some precision, we got ourselves into good areas and we should have won it."
Turner stressed there were some positives to emerge, notably another goal for highly rated young winger Taylor - his sixth of the season.
"He's been a threat down the right and has ended up up front where he's been equally a threat," he added. "He's having a good spell at the moment and he's got to keep that going for us."