Substitute Alan Lee grabbed the winner for promotion-chasing Huddersfield Town after a formation change sparked the side into life.
Lee swept the ball home from the edge of the box on 75 minutes from Joey Gudjonsson’s pass to register his seventh goal of the season.
He had entered the contest 13 minutes earlier in a double swap as manager Simon Grayson switched to two up front from a less orthodox 4-1-4-1 formation.
Town were listless until then, summed up by a breakaway on 39 minutes when Jordan Rhodes should have put Scott Arfield clear but fluffed an easy pass.
And when the Terriers did get out of first gear, they found Pools goalkeeper Scott Flinders in solid form.
He first tipped over Antony Kay’s flicked effort and then saved Danny Ward’s shot.
He also did well to beat away a goal-bound header from Rhodes early on after the Scotland striker slipped his marker to reach Arfield’s cross.
Hartlepool though showed why they have failed to score in three of their last six matches by not managing even one shot at goal in the opening period.
The situation seemed unlikely to get better when Hartlepool took off seven-goal topscorer James Poole at the break, though he is just back from a two-month injury lay-off.
But they did finally test Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies on 67 minutes when former Terrier Sam Collins put Antony Sweeny in for a shot which the academy product parried.
They also went close to an equaliser when Smithies tipped Sweeny’s shot on to a post on 83 minutes.
He then made a double block to keep Town ahead as Hartlepool rallied late on.
Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Hunt, McCombe, Morrison, Woods; Gudjonsson; Ward (Johnson 86), Kay, Arfield (Roberts 62), Novak (Lee 62); Rhodes. Unused substitutes: Bennett, Naysmith.
Hartlepool United: Flanders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Murray (Nish 79); Poole (Brown 46), Baldwin, Sweeney, Monkhouse; Humphreys (Boyd 79). Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Haslam.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
League One leaders Charlton Athletic suffered a rare home defeat but stay 13 points clear of Sheffield United and the chasing pack, albeit having played a game more than the Blades.
Charlton lost 2-0 to Colchester United at the Valley.
Milton Keynes Dons also suffered defeat, going down 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Yeovil Town.
The Dons stay six points adrift of Sheffield United.
Elsewhere, seventh-placed Carlisle beat Rochdale 2-1 while Ronnie Moore earned a point in his first game back as Tranmere boss at home to sixth-place Notts County. Preston drew 0-0 with Chesterfield and Wycombe beat Leyton Orient 4-2.