A brilliant late Josh Hawkes strike proved meaningless as Hartlepool United's winless run was extended to seven games by Dover Athletic.
Bedsente Gomis opened the scoring for Dover at the Crabble before Inih Effiong scored the goal which would eventually prove the difference.
The result leaves Pools 12th in the National League, seven points away from the promotion play-off places.
It is also SEVEN without a win in all competitions.
Controversy hit Pools in the run up to this game with Liam Noble left out of the matchday squad despite travelling with the team. The midfielder was not banned nor was he injured or rested.
Elsewhere Andrew Davies was missing with the club confirming the player will miss around four weeks with an ankle problem which was exacerbated in the FA Cup loss to Gillingham on Wednesday.
As well as three personnel changes - Peter Kioso, Tyrone O'Neill and Myles Anderson coming in - Bates went back to a 3-5-2, no doubt with Davies and Noble's absence playing a part.
An even opening, with chances at both end, then unravelled as Pools' defensive frailties of recent weeks were again brought to the fore.
Some poor defending, with Pools failing to clear their lines, saw Bedsente Gomis smash in the opener on 19 minutes.
Dover, the league's bottom side before kick-off, had only won two games in 20 this season til today but their one-goal lead soon became two when Joshua Debayo's run from deep went unchallenged and the ball rebounded free to Inih Effiong who sent Scott Loach the wrong way.
In goalscoring terms, that was the way it stayed for Pools until the 84th minute when a winding run saw Hawkes slot home under goalkeeper Mitch Walker to half the deficit. But it was too little, too late as Dover held on to claim just their third three point haul of the campaign.
Bates & Co have now not won a game in the league for more than six weeks, with their last victory coming on October 6.