Pools were consigned to a seventh consecutive National League defeat as Dagenham & Redbridge came from behind to pinch all three points at The Super 6 Stadium.
With Director of Football Craig Hignett in temporary charge following the departure of boss Matthew Bates, Pools set about dominating the game against their in-form visitors.
The Daggers had won five out of their previous six but were second best for most of a cold afternoon in the north-east and were behind for the majority after Liam Noble’s early penalty.
However, they held their nerve and grabbed two astonishingly late goals to turn the game on its head and leave Pools wondering what they have to do to end their losing run.
Hignett opted to revert to three at the back with a recall for Peter Kioso to play on the left side of Carl Magnay and Kenton Richardson to his right.
Liam Noble was restored to the centre of a midfield four, while Josh Hawkes was employed just behind a front two of Niko Muir and Luke James.
And the positive set-up provided Pools with the platform to attack from the off and they were instantly on the front foot, Josh Hawkes stinging the keeper’s hands with a drive from a tight angle after a great one-two with Nicky Featherstone.
Muir almost profited from tenacious play from James when his curling shot was blocked and then James himself came close after scurrying in to space on the left of the area but his effort hit the side-netting.
There were just 12 minutes gone when the breakthrough arrived though. A ball to the far post seemed to be finding Mark Kitching but he was tugged by a defender and the referee was well-placed to award a penalty – Noble did the rest with a calm finish from the spot.
Kitching headed wide when getting on the end of another delivery to the far post and then Hawkes came closest of all when he ghosted in on the edge of the box and his deflected shot seemed to be going in before Eliott Justham produced a wonderful save to tip it over the bar.
Pools remained on top but The Daggers began to look a threat on the counter-attack and Conor Wilkinson did well to jink inside and fire a low shot on goal which Scott Loach dealt with low to his right.
Muir had the final good chance of the first half when some good football led to the ball being drilled in to his feet on the edge of the area where he turned swiftly to shoot but Justham turned it round the post.
Pools began the second half on the front foot too when James showed skill and pace to get away from his man down the right of the area before crossing low for Muir but he just couldn’t direct his effort inside the post.
There were penalty appeals when James took a tumble under pressure from Manny Onariase that were waved away and Carl Magnay came agonisingly close to scoring from the resultant corner but just couldn’t get enough contact on Noble’s in-swinger.
The dangerous Hawkes then tested Justham again from a tight angle after great work to get away from McQueen but his shot was held by the keeper.
However, Justham had no answer a couple of minutes later when Noble jinked in to space on the edge of the box and let fly but the skipper’s drive cannoned back off the base of the post and Featherstone’s follow-up was straight at the keeper.
Ryan Donaldson flashed a deflected shot just wide and some delightful football created another opening for Hawkes but he opted to try and pass instead of shooting and the chance evaporated.
The tiring Kitching was replaced by Conor Newton with a minute left but the substitute’s first action was to foul his man on the right fringe of the area and from the free-kick Ben Goodliffe was left free to head home a 90th-minute leveller at the back post.
Losing that goal was disappointing enough for Pools but then, in injury time, The Daggers broke effectively from a Pools corner to raid down the right. When the ball came low across the box it was pushed out by Loach only as far as Matt Robinson and the midfielder couldn’t believe his luck as he drove it in to the net to win the points for the visitors.
Full Time: Pools 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 2
Pools: Loach, Richardson, Magnay, Kioso, Donaldson, Featherstone, Noble, Kitching (Newton 88), Hawkes (McLaughlin 77), James, Muir (Dinanga 86).
Subs not used: Butler, O’Neill.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Nunn (Adeloye 82), Robinson, Pennell, McQueen, Balanta, Goodliffe, Phipps (Kandi 66), Wilkinson, Munns (Harfield 54), Onariase.
Subs not used: Clark, Moore.
Booked: Phipps, Robinson.
Attendance: 2,030 (43 Dagenham).