Rhys Oates grabs share of the spoils for struggling Hartlepool
Rhys Oates' strike ensured Hartlepool remain narrowly above the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone following a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Carlisle.
Oates cancelled out Jabo Ibehre's opener as Pools ended the afternoon one point ahead of Newport while the Cumbrians retained the final play-off spot.
Hartlepool immediately faced an uphill task when Danny Grainger's long throw somehow put Ibehre through on goal and the striker side-footed through goalkeeper Joe Fryer's legs.
That preceded a drab spectacle as frequent Carlisle time-wasting combined with toothless opponents.
Yet Pools found an unexpected leveller in the 65th minute when Oates charged down Grainger's attempted clearance and produced a sublime curling finish.
That sparked the game into life, with Carlisle defender Michael Raynes forcing fine saves from Fryer either side of Nathan Thomas fizzing a stunning half-volley agonisingly wide.
Carlisle continued to threaten from set-pieces as Ibehre rattled a post and Shaun Brisley was denied by Liam Donnelly's last-ditch block.
Both sides pushed for a winner during an electric finish, but the spoils were shared.