Pools put in a battling display at Whaddon Road but could not find a response to Cheltenham Town's first-half goal.
Pools started brightly, forcing a quick tempo and showing real positivity; Nathan Thomas had the first shot of the game on six minutes as he sent a volley from distance wide of the post.
But it was Cheltenham Town who took the lead, with just 17 minutes on the clock. Once again, Pools afforded the opposition too much space inside the box and, when the ball came in from the right, Danny Wright had the room to get up and nod past Trevor Carson.
It was a sucker punch for Pools on such a crucial afternoon and, while thing did look bright going forward, the nerves remained when defending their own goal.
Lewis Hawkins, full of running on his recall to the eleven, had a good chance to level things up shortly after the goal as he got up to meet a cross but his headed effort was tipped over the bar by Scott Brown at full stretch.
And with Pools responding well following the goal, there was another good chance of an equaliser as Padraig Amond nipped in to steal a short back pass from Carl Winchester and go through on goal. But the striker saw his effort on goal blocked by the legs of Brown and the chance passed.
Pools had some good spells of pressure in the first half but were unable to convert that possession into goal – as has often been the case this season.
Hawkins sent a great ball across goal late in the half but with no one in a blue shirt there to capitalise, Winchester was able to put out for a corner.
The corner led to a scramble inside the box but the hosts were able to clear and there was no first-half leveller for Pools.
Cheltenham Town caused problems for Pools at the back and Scott Harrison in particular was strong at the back, winning a number of aerial battles to keep his side within touching distance.
Again Pools started the second half looking lively but again it was Cheltenham who went closest to scoring; Danny Wright found himself in space inside the area within the opening 10 minutes but this time the striker dragged his shot just wide.
Hawkins got stuck in for Pools at the other end, setting up Lewis Alessandra with a shot, which was blocked out but Bates’s side were playing with determination.
Padraig Amond went up against a crowd of defenders to try and win a header on goal but looked to lose out to the raised hand of an opponent. The referee waved away the loud appeals of the Pools players and fans.
A great ball in from Carl Magnay on the left had Amond and Alessandra a full stretch trying to force it in – Brown held the ball though, with only Alessandra ending up in the back of the net.
Pools were making most of the play by now, with another cross in from the left lifted off the line by defender Liam Davis.
With news of Newport County losing at Carlisle United filtering through, the travelling army of fans upped their volume to try and spur the players on.
But despite all of the possession for Pools, once again that killer touch was missing and the game finished in defeat.
Newport County’s defeat at Carlisle United means Pools remain in the final relegation spot going into the final game of the season – home to Doncaster Rovers next Saturday.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 1 Pools 0
Attendance: 5606 (704 Pools)
Booked: Woods (21), Amond
Cheltenham Town: Brown, Storer, Pell, Waters, Wright (Wootton 80), Boyle, Rowe, Onariase, Winchester (Cranston 46), Holman (Downes 69), Davis.
Subs Not Used: Kitscha, Munns, Wootton, Dayton, O’Shaughnessy.
Pools: Carson, Richards, Harrison, Walker, Magnay, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins (Simpson 90), Thomas (Oates 55), Alessandra, Amond.
Subs Not Used: Fryer, Bates, Deverdics, Rooney, Rodney, Simpson.