Vale stormed into a 2-0 lead before the Dons recovered to lead 3-2 via Zach Cohen, Harry Moss and Josh Cinna, but there was a late sting in the tale as the hosts scored a third via an own goal, which Jack Shulman is claiming.
Vale co-boss Jacob Emanuel told JC Sport: "I don’t think anyone expected us to take anything from the match, but to take a point after the Dons fought back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 showed great mental strength."
Disappointed Dons boss Brandon Hamme was critical of his team's defending and told JC Sport: "It was a disappointing result and day out. We started very slowly and Hertswood capitalised by scoring two early goals. We got ourselves back into it and were on top for the vast majority of the game. We had several chances to finish the game off but we didn’t take them.
"Regardless of this though we were not good enough defensively today. We gifted them every single goal today and completely shot ourselves in the foot. We made things hard for ourselves by making unnecessary decisions in crucial times which lead to the goals.
"The second Hertswood Vale goal in particular was disappointing as the goal came directly from a goal-kick and some miscommunication lead to absolutely needless own goal."
On the flipside, Hamme identified some "positives to take forward". He said: "Despite being unable to finish our chances, we did extremely well with our build up to create so many. There was some great off the ball movement and some great passes which managed to unlock the Vale defence.
"The boys all put in a good shift as per usual so I can not fault them for that, it just wasn’t to be our day.
"This is our first draw of the season and the fact that the boys are so disappointed with the result, shows how far we have come as a team since last season."
In terms of the run-in, Hamme went on to say: "Promotion will now be a very difficult task, but we will continue to give it our all and fight till the very end.
"I would like to wish Ashley Hirschberger well after he looked to have picked up a injury late on, hope it’s not too serious.
"Finally, full credit to Hertswood Vale they didn’t make things easy for us and we know we will be in for a tricky game once again when we meet them at our place in two weeks time."
VALE: Simon Englander, Jordan Harris, Ashley Hirschburger, Brad Lobetta, James Millet, James Neidle, Jack Shulman, Alex Trup, Josh Wood, Andy Gilbert, Josh Cohen. Sub: Danny Feuer
SCORERS: J. Cohen 2 (4, 77), own goal
DONS: Oli Burchell, Josh Cinna, Adam Ben-Harosh, Richard Hayim, Adam Isaacs, Ryan Kramer, Adam Morrow, Harry Moss, Jamie Nagioff, Nick Phillips, Zach Cohen. Subs: Sam Denby, Adam Diamond, Josh Moses
SCORERS: Z. Cohen, Moss, Cinna