A rare goal from central defender Troy Brown was enough to give the Robins the three points in a game they dominated for long spells.
Yates said: "It was a good performance and we bossed the game for long periods. I think we deserved the win but we could have made it easier for ourselves.
"I had a little moan at the lads at half time because we missed three or four really good opportunities and that could have cost us.
"We need to be more ruthless and we were nearly made to pay because they had a great chance to open the scoring late in the game but we got away with it and we got the win we needed with what was a good away performance overall.
"Fortunately we are talking about a win which is what we were after and that is what was important. We are getting stronger all the time and the group is really coming together and I am hoping we can kick on now over the important Christmas period and into the new year.
"We were all disappointed with the start we made this season and we had to make some changes but those changes are looking as if they are paying off now and we are looking a decent unit. We are not conceding the crazy goals that we did earlier in the season and we just need to be more ruthless at the other end of the field now.''
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was disappointed with his side's fourth home defeat in five games.
He said: "I really was hoping that we could take advantage of being the only game of the day in League 2 because three points would have put us in a really good position.
"But although we played some decent stuff in periods we had to defend for long spells because they dictated the pace for quite a lot of the game.
"But once again we fell the wrong side of the thin line that seems to decide a lot of games in this league.
"We missed the best chance of the game to score with about 15 minutes to go and then gave away a silly free kick a few minutes later which they scored from.''
Brown's winner came with a close-range tap-in 10 minutes from time after the home defence failed to clear Matt Richards' dangerous free-kick.
Cheltenham had the better chances of the game with Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche saving smartly from Jermaine McGlashan and Byron Harrison in the first half to keep his side in the game.
Morecambe's best effort fell to Stuart Drummond but he somehow failed to find the target from six yards out after being teed up by Padraig Amond's pinpoint cross.
Andy Fleming tested Scott Brown with a first-half shot that the Robins' keeper saved neatly to his left.
- Sports & Recreation