HARTLEPOOL UNITED lost for the fifth successive time, going down 2-1 to promotion-chasing Chesterfield at Victoria Park.
They are now only three points in front of the relegation zone, with four games remaining - two at home, two away.
But they did take the lead as Colin Cooper's side chased that one win which would ease any fears of ending the season in a messy relegation scrap.
Pools took the lead on 25 minutes. Jack Barmby’s pass fed Luke James in behind left-back Nathan Smith and the striker neatly curled in his 16th goal of the season from inside the penalty area.
The lead, however, lasted just five minutes.
A Daniel Gardner corner landed in the six-yard area and centre-half Liam Cooper was on hand to knock the ball over the line from close range.
Four minutes into the second half and the Spireites won it.
A crossfield ball from Marc Richards found Eoin Doyle at the far side of the penalty area and he cut inside Darren Holden before angling a deft chip over keeper Andy Rafferty.
The visitors saw the game out comfortably and could have added to their lead, but subsitute Armand Gnanduillet’s low, angled shot was well saved by Rafferty.