Usuthu opened the scoring on Saturday when Mhlengi Cele’s cross was turned home by Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza in the 23rd minute.
Nyauza equalised in the 35th minute but the dominant Buccaneers could make no further headway past a resolute Pule in Soweto.
“We did not play like AmaZulu can play. I thought in the first half we were okay,” Johnson told the club's website.
“We got the goal. I thought we could have scored the second goal. It could have eased our nerves. But one mistake from us and they managed to score.”
He continued: “We know what type of a team Pirates are. They are a running team and they always fight back, especially at Orlando Stadium. They always give you a hard time.
“In the second half we were not in the game. We were lucky not to concede. I thought our goalkeeper being part of the 11 players did his job. He saved our bacon.
“We came to the Orlando Stadium with a point and we go back home with one point. We are happy. It’s always difficult that’s why.”
Johnson's side are three points above the drop zone after 12 fixtures, and will play their final game before the December break against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on Friday. Kick-off is at 20h00.