Despite a late push, Pools fell to a 3-2 home defeat against Rochdale at the Suit Direct Stadium. Dale went three goals ahead in the first half before Nicky Featherstone and Mani Dieseruvwe revived hope for Hartlepool.
John Askey named four changes to the starting 11 following Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Halifax. Joel Dixon started in between the sticks while Matty Dolan, Zak Johnson and Josh Umerah also lined up for Pools.
It was the worst possible start for Pools. The visitors broke the deadlock on three minutes as goalkeeper Louie Moulden's long ball forward was met by Cian Hayes, and the Fleetwood loanee made no mistake in curling past Dixon.
Hartlepool's afternoon got even tougher as striker Umerah was forced off injured on six minutes. He was replaced by Chris Wreh.
Jimmy Keohane and Hayes had chances for Rochdale to make it two but neither could capitalise. At the other end, Dolan forced Moulden into a neat save from a free-kick while Dieseruvwe, Tom Crawford and Johnson also fired attempts goalwards.
On 33 minutes, Rochdale made it two. Another direct ball forward was flicked on by Kairo Mitchell, giving Keohane the chance to fire past Dixon inside the box.
As the clock ticked 45, Dale added a third. Central midfielder Ryan East strode forward before finding the bottom corner from distance.
Askey's side weren't dead and buried, however. In the sixth additional minute, Joe Grey chested the ball down to Featherstone to hit home and pull one back for Pools.
Both teams battled in a close-fought second half. Pools almost got another back as Crawford's low strike was spilled by Moulden, who pounced at the second time of asking.
Hartlepool got their second through Dieseruvwe on 84 minutes. The forward met Luke Hendrie's cross at the front post and headed into the bottom corner past Moulden.
The hosts pushed in the dying minutes for the equaliser. The closest Pools came was on the 90 mark, with David Ferguson's low cross evading everyone inside the six-yard box.
And with the referee putting the whistle to his mouth, Pools will now enter a two-week break before facing Ebbsfleet United at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Pools: Dixon, Ferguson, Mattock, Dolan (Agyemang 46), Johnson, Hendrie (Paterson 86), Featherstone, Crawford, Grey, Umerah (Wreh 6), Dieseruvwe
Subs (not used): Jameson, Onariase
Goals: Featherstone (45+6), Dieseruvwe (84)
Rochdale goals: Hayes (3), Keohane (33), East (45)
Attendance: 3509 (179 Rochdale)