Steve Elliott's goal late in the first half kept the Robins' automatic promotion hopes alive at the Abbey Business Stadium.
They saw off the challenge of rivals for a top three berth Northampton to maintain their unbeaten home record to 18 League matches.
Yates said: "Scott Brown made a few saves which show why he's one of the best keepers if not the best keeper in the league at the moment.
"He's had one where he blocked a shot from a one-on-one and he's the rock that we build on and the lads get so much confidence from playing in front of him.
"It was always going to be tough, we had a 20-minute spell against Port Vale in the first half where we were overrun and didn't do what we set out to do but we've shown in the second half there that we can play and that we are strong.
"We have let in a couple of bad goals recently, but it was about winning the game.
"We picked up some good areas, made a fair few chances and the second half was always going to be about holding on.
"There were some outstanding performances but it was a really good team effort from everybody."