Dover Athletic snatched a last-gasp equaliser to deny Pools all three points during a scrappy encounter at Crabble Athletic Ground on Saturday.
Dave Challinor’s men looked all set for victory after Gavan Holohan’s cross was turned through his own net by Dover defender Kevin Lokko midway through the first half.
However, Nassim L’Ghoul came off the bench to prod past Mitchell Beeney in the 91st-minute to rescue a point for the hosts and leave Pools frustrated.
Challinor made just one change to his starting line-up as Myles Anderson came in to the centre of defence to partner Gary Liddle.
It was the hosts who started the game the better and went close on five minutes when Ricky Modeste’s header flashed wide, though the flag had also gone up for offside.
The Athletic midfielder came close again minutes later when he met Bobby-Joe Taylor’s inswinging corner but his glancing header was parried away well by Mitchell Beeneey.
Pools began to get a foothold as time went on though and Mark Kitching tested home keeper Lee Worgan with a curling free-kick from twenty-five yards.
The opening goal arrived midway through the half when the ball was worked to the left for Gavan Holohan who cut inside to find space and lifted a cross in towards Nicke Kabamba but Dover skipper Kevin Lokko got the first touch and diverted it past his own keeper to make it 1-0.
Ryan Donaldson, a constant menace down the right, almost made it two not long afterwards when he drove inside from the right but his powerful left-foot drive flew just too high.
Worgan then had to be at his best to keep Kabamba out at his front post after a lovely move down the left which had involved Kitching, Holohan and Gus Mafuta.
Donaldson was next to go close when he flung himself at Mark Shelton’s whipped cross from the right but the diving header flashed wide of the front post.
Dover had a half chance at the start of the second half but Jeffrey strangled his shot and sent it wide after engineering space on the edge of the penalty area.
Oscar Gobern let fly with a volley from twenty yards just after the hour mark but it was straight at Beeney, while the Pools keeper made a stunning save just afterwards to turn Effiong’s powerful drive round the post.
Pools managed the second half reasonably well from that point and could have made it 2-0 late on when Mark Shelton drilled a free-kick a couple of yards over the bar.
The game looked up but then, as the injury-time board went up to signal four added minutes, Dover hoisted a ball towards the edge of the box where it broke kindly for L’Ghoul and he sent a low shot across Beeney which rolled agonisingly across the goal and went in off the base of the post.
Full Time: Dover Athletic 1 Pools 1
Dover Athletic: Worgan, Passley, De Havilland, Lokko, Taylor, Gobern, Woods, Jeffrey (L’Ghoul 70), Munns (Rigg 63), Modeste (Yusuff 71), Effiong.
Subs not used: Reason, Simpson.
Booked: Effiong, Taylor.
Pools: Beeney, Kioso, Liddle, Anderson, Kitching, Mafuta, Featherstone, Shelton, Holohan (Hamilton 86), Donaldson, Kabamba (Cunningham 90).
Subs not used: Killip, Kennedy, Molyneux.
Attendance: 1,023 (64 Poolies)
Referee: Lewis Smith