Morecambe came out on the wrong side of a frantic finale as they ended 2013 with a disappointing defeat at the Globe Arena on Sunday.
The Shrimps had fought back from a goal down to level the scores just three minutes from time but a lack of discipline and some shocking late defending proved costly as an injury-time strike from Jonathan Franks saw Hartlepool snatch a dramatic three points.
Franks was Hartlepool’s goal hero in the 93rd minute when he was left unmarked on the edge of the Morecambe area to fire a sweet volley past Barry Roche’s right hand after the home defence had failed to deal with a long throw from substitute Darren Holden.
It was a goal that all the more galling as the Shrimps had brought themselves back into the game just minutes earlier with a goal from substitute Jack Sampson.
The striker collected the ball on the edge of the Hartlepool area and turned smartly to fire a volley past keeper Scott Flinders.
Both sides then had chances to score a second in a mad 60 seconds. The Shrimps should have taken note of a warning from Franks who broke free and hit the cross bar from 12 yards before the Shrimps went close themselves when Flinders produced a superb double save to deny Sampson and second before getting up smartly to block the follow up effort from Kevin Ellison.
There was a good early pace to what was an entertaining first half with Morecambe having the first real chance on goal.
Andy Fleming picked up possession to the left of goal and sent a hopeful ball into the box which sailed high over everyone only to bounce down on the bar and then out of play.
It was Hartlepool who struck first however when they opened the scoring on 17 minutes when central defender Jack Baldwin met an inch-perfect corner from Matty Dolan to send a powerful header past Roche to make it 1-0.
Baldwin went close again with a similar corner with Franks denied by another good save from Roche.
Morecambe had a couple of late chances in the first half when Jack Redshaw twisted and turned past Christian Burgess to shoot from close range but Flinders blocked.
The hosts then missed a golden chance in injury time when Chris McCready headed a Robbie Threlfall free kick wide from close range when he looked certain to score.
Morecambe were forced to defend for long periods against an excellent, young Hartlepool side but they had chances of their own when Ellison was superbly denied by Flinders inside the six-yard box.
The game then swung from end to end but it was the visitors who kept their nerve to shock the Shrimps with virtually the last kick of the game.
Morecambe: Roche, Parrish, McCready, Hughes, Threlfall (Diagne 78), Drummond, Kenyon (Mwasile 74), Amond (Sampson 65), Fleming, Ellison, Redshaw. Subs not used: Arestidou, McGowan, Doyle, McGee.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Franks, Dolan, Walker, Rodney (Holden 77), Poole, James. Subs not used: Rafferty, Collins, Walton, Sweeney, Rowbotham, Hawkins.
Referee: M Naylor.