Roy Hodgson's men were held to a 1-1 draw in Podgorica after Wayne Rooney's early header was cancelled out late on and goalkeeper Joe Hart admits it came as a blow.
"First half, thoroughly in control; second half, we made it hard for ourselves and we had to dig deep," Hart told Sky Sports News.
"It was a scrappy goal. I'd imagine they'll say it was coming but I think that was the only way they were going to score, with the ball bobbling around and someone being in the right place at the right time."
England had opportunities to add to their lead before the break with Danny Welbeck being booked for diving when a penalty could have been awarded and Michael Carrick felt that was key.
"We needed a second goal, really," said the midfielder. "If we'd had the second goal - and we had chances, opportunities and a good shout for a penalty.
"We knew they'd give it a go in the second half and come at us but it's still disappointing not to take the points even though a point is not so bad."
Chris Smalling agreed and is grateful for the opportunity to make amends at Wembley in the autumn.
"We did have spells in the first half and even in the second half where we had the odd chance," said the Manchester United man.
"It was just unfortunate but luckily we get the chance to play them at home and I'm sure we'll do them now."
The result leaves England two points adrift of Montenegro but asked if they can still top the group, Hart added: "We're going to try and do that.
"Hopefully that will be good enough. Well, if we beat Montenegro and win the other three it will be good enough, simple as that."