Pools produced one of their most below-par performances of the campaign to remain in relegation trouble and allow Leyton Orient to keep their faint hopes of survival alive.
The O’s wanted it more and, despite falling behind to an early goal from Rhys Oates, the hosts’ victory was rarely in doubt after teenage front men Victor Odebayejo and Tristan Abrahams both helped themselves to goals.
Orient ignored the whistles of protest against the owners to begin brightly and they could have snatched a very early lead when skipper Liam Kelly found space in the box but his deflected shot was held by Joe Fryer.
Victor Adeboyejo was next to wriggle through as the hosts set a high tempo but Fryer was again equal to the effort as he blocked the front man’s low drive from a tight angle.
However, it was Pools who struck first when Padraid Amond battled for a ball forward and it fell kindly for Rhys Oates, who carried it in to the box, shielded it from several Orient defenders before slipping a low shot back across goalkeeper Sam Sargeant.
It should have been the signal for Dave Jones’ men to really seize the initiative against a side made of no fewer than seven teenagers but instead they allowed their hosts back in to it.
On 18 minutes the building pressure from The O’s paid off as Michael Clark turned cleverly away from Liam Donnelly and drilled a low cross in to the front post where Adeboyejo toe-poked it past Fryer before the keeper could even react.
Lewis Alessandra had a glorious chance to restore Pools’ lead almost immediately but he couldn’t generate enough power to really test Sargeant after Amond pulled it back to him twelve yards out.
From then on, it was Orient all the way in the first half; the increasingly dangerous Steven Alzate began to pull the strings and he set Adeboyejo away but his shot flew wide of the far post.
Another lovely ball through from Alzate freed Tristan Abrahams and his first shot drew a good save from Fryer before his follow-up was blocked by Brad Walker.
With just over ten minutes of the first half remaining the home side went in front; a lovely passing move allowed Alzate the space to move towards the area and his square pass found Abrahams and he rifled an unstoppable shot in to the top corner.
Nathan Thomas had a half chance to bring Pools level just before the break when he was teed up by Deverdics but his shot was straight at Sargeant while, at the other end, youngster Henry Ochieng sent a sizzling long-range drive just too high.
Pools began the second half on the front foot with Michael Woods introduced to replace Deverdics and the substitute was involved as he fed Alessandra down the left but his cross was cleared before it could reach Oates.
While Jones’ men retained a lot of possession, they were struggling to create anything clear cut, Nathan Thomas saw his header from distance loop over after more decent work from Oates.
However, the best chance came at the other end and only a magnificent fingertip save from Fryer prevented Abrahams sewing up the points with a fine drive after he escaped down the middle.
Thomas wriggled across the edge of The O’s box after being found by Donnelly but his goalbound shot was well charged down by Mezague.
The best opening fell to Oates when Thomas whipped a great ball in from the left but the front man couldn’t get the right connection with his header and it fell wide of the far post.
Oates then saw another effort cleared off the line after he ghosted in at the far post as Pools’ search for an equaliser became ever more desperate.
And that desperation turned to frustration late on when Donnelly raced back to argue with the referee after he’d given a goal kick which the full-back felt should have been a corner. Booked for his first bout of dissent, the Northern Irishman then inexplicably squared up to referee Dean Whitestone who then produced a second yellow and a deserved red for the Pools man.
It summed up an abject afternoon only slightly brightened by news that results elsewhere meant the situation at the bottom of the table hadn’t worsened significantly.
Full Time: Leyton Orient 2 Hartlepool United 1
Off: Donnelly (90)
Booked: Walker (86)
Leyton Orient: Sargeant, Pollock, Mezague, Clark, Ochieng, Kelly, Collins, Semedo, Abrahams (Moncur 84), Adeboyejo (Koroma 76), Alzate (McCallum 70).
Subs Not Used: Dalby, Happe, Janata, Janse.
Pools: Fryer, Magnay, Walker, Harrison, Donnelly, Featherstone (Rooney 82), Deverdics (Woods 45), Oates, Amond (Rodney 72), Thomas.
Subs Not Used: Dudzinski, Bates, Hawkins, Blackford.