Tranmere failed to put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom two as they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to the Football League’s bottom club
Kayode Odejayi’s strike was not enough for Rovers as they were clawed back by Hartlepool, who were unlucky not to pick up the full three points.
The game was somewhat over shadowed by Ronnie Moore’s return to Prenton Park, the first time he had been back since his sacking last season.
The former Rovers boss is remembered fondly for his time on the Wirral, but admits his departure in April still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Yet, he received a warm welcome from the home fans, many of who got to their feet to applaud him as he emerged from the tunnel before kick-off.
Moore aside, the match also carried so much meaning in terms of the League Two relegation battle.
Hartlepool were nine points from safety before kick-off, whilst Rovers themselves were only outside the bottom two on goal-difference.
Both teams therefore saw this as a chance to pick up a vital win and enhance their survival chances.
Micky Adams made just one change to the line up which started in last week’s win over Accrington, with Max Power, who missed out through illness, replacing Marc Laird.
That meant new signing Jennison Myrie-Williams had to make do with a place on the bench.
Both teams knew this was a must win game, and they produced a scintillating, frantic start to the match, with neither defence looking safe.
It took less than 30-seconds for Owain Fon Williams to be called into action, saving Michael Woods’ deflected shot.
Seconds later, Kayode Odejayi was on the end of a deep Max Power cross, diving full strength to head goalwards, only for Scott Flinders to save, before the ‘keeper clung on to a low drive from Danny Holmes.
Fon Williams then made the best save yet, acrobatically leaping to his left to tip a 25-yard thunderbolt from Woods over the bar.
It did not look long before the deadlock would be breached, and so it proved as Tranmere opened the scoring with their next attack.
Odejayi was the scorer, netting his fourth and arguably best goal of the season after a sublime finish.
The striker, the source of some criticism from Rovers fans earlier this season, has become a vital cog in the Micky Adams machine of late.
And lingering unmarked ten yards out, he was well found at the back post by Rory Donnelly’s deep cross from the left.
There, Odejayi was able to angle a wonderful volley back across Flinders and into the far corner.
No sooner had Tranmere scored though than the visitors pegged them back.
Unsurprisingly, Woods was involved, with his point-blank range effort forcing a sensational save from Fon Williams, diving quickly to his left.
However, the Welsh stopper could only push the ball back out into the danger zone, with Scott Fenwick smashing into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box.
After a frenetic opening fifteen minutes, the equaliser finally seemed to calm the game down.
But it was Hartlepool who still looked the more likely scorers.
Rakish Bingham fired one shot over the bar, whilst as the half drew to a close only a wonderful block from Danny Holmes, throwing himself in front of Jonathan Frank’s powerful drive, diverted the ball away from goal.
From the resulting corner, Dan Jones headed over the bar as the two teams went in all square.
The second half started in much the same fashion, with the visitors pushing forward but unable to create too many openings.
Indeed, the best chance actually fell to Tranmere just after the hour, when Josh Thompson some how headed a corner over the bar.
Micky Adams immediately turned to his bench, with Myrie-Williams replacing Shamir Fenelon, whilst Jason Koumas came on for Lee Molyneux.
Rovers continued to be on the back-foot though, with Woods finally carving a shooting opportunity for Hartlepool, turning and firing just wide from 20-yards.
Bingham then shot straight at Fon Williams from inside the box after receiving a quick free-kick before Aaron Tshibola miscued off-target from a similar range.
Tranmere finally had some luck down the other end, as Koumas unleashed Myrie-Williams down the left, but his shot was blocked and it was not long before Fon Williams had to spring quickly off his line to deny Thisbola.
Donnelly then had a go for Rovers, but his 25-yard effort was straight at Flinders, and moments later the hosts made their final change, replacing Odejayi with Cole Stockton.
With minutes left, the game looked like it was heading for a stalemate.
Power tried his luck from 25-yards but saw his piledriver bounce just wide, whilst Fon Williams breathed a sigh of relief as Franks’ deflected effort left him wrong footed but thankfully bobbled round the post.
Then, with seconds left, Bingham nearly grabbed what would have been a deserved three points for Hartlepool as his 20-yard effort curled just wide.