HARTLEPOOL United let a half-time lead slip to end 2022 with a 2-1 defeat to Mansfield Town at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Jack Hamilton’s 20th-minute header had put Pools in front as Keith Curle’s side chased a third straight win.
It looked on at half-time but former Pools star Rhys Oates equalised at the start of the second half before Oliver Hawkins scored the winner on the hour.
Despite the loss, Pools remain 21st in the table with rivals Rochdale, Gillingham and Colchester all going down.
Boss Curle was forced into one change with Euan Murray missing out, which meant a start in the heart of the defence for Mark Shelton, who was joined at the back by Roillin Menayese and David Ferguson.
It proved a cagey opening with the first shot not arriving until the 16th minute when Ollie Clarke’s effort from outside the area going just wide of Ben Killip’s right stick.
And when the opening goal came in the 20th minute there was a post involved.
Hamilton met Callum Cook’s right-winger corner perfectly with his header into the turf going in via Christy Pym’s right-hand post.
It was Jack’s second goal since joining Pools and his first in League Two and he full earned his lengthy celebrations.
Mansfield were not helped by losing their skipper, with Clarke limping off on the half-hour, while their passes were frequently overhit.
They had a sight of goal in the opening minute of first-half stoppage time when Pools needlessly conceded a corner which Ollie Hawkins headed towards goal only for Killip to take confidently.
Mansfield were level inside two minutes and it had to be Oates, didn’t it?
Sub George Lapslie escaped a weak challenge and found the Pools promotion winner who finished emphatically into the Rink End net from the edge of the area.
Pools switched to a back four in the second half with Shelton alongside Featherstone in the middle of the park until being subbed on 58 minutes to allow the introduction of Wes McDonald.
And the hosts found themselves 2-1 down on the hour and it was all too easy for the Stags.
Lapslie was again the provider with Hawkins tucking it away into Killip's right corner.
Pools suffered another blow when Jamie Sterry, who has only just returned from injury, limping off to be replaced by Chris Missilou.
Little was going right for Pools, who had few openings, with McDonald gaping well wide from distance and Cooke skying an effort moments after being booked.
Pools kept plugging away and were given hope with seven minutes of stoppage time but never got near Pym’s goal.
Pools: Killip; Menayese, Shelton (McDonald 58), Ferguson, Sterry (Missilou 62), Featherstone, Sylla, Tumilty; Cooke; Hamilton Umerah (Grey 74). Subs (not used): Boyes, McDonald, Oduor, Hastie
Goal: Hamilton 20
Booked: Cooke 76, Ferguson 82
Mansfield: Pym; Hawkins, Hewitt, Wallace (Quinn 46); Akins (O-Toole 87), Perch, Maris (Hartigan 80), Clarke (Lapslie 30), McLaughlin; Oates, Swan
Subs (not used): Flinders, Gordon, O'Toole, Boateng
Goals: Oates 47, Hawkins 60
Booked: Clarke 23
Referee: Martin Coy.
Att: 4599 (away 504)