HARTLEPOOL United are now just ONE point from safety after Brad Walker’s second-half penalty secured a 1-0 win over Mansfield Town.
Victory at a packed Victoria Park made it three wins in the space of eight days for Pools, with three clean sheets in the process.
Ronnie Moore’s side have dragged themselves out of the doldrums and they are now just a point from third-bottom.
Relegation rivals Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town both lost, while York City and Carlisle United drew.
Walker scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot two minutes after the re-start, while Mansfield had Junior Brown sent off just before the hour mark for a high, late challenge.
Moore kept faith with the same side and the same 3-5-2 formation following back-to-back wins over Morecambe and Oxford United, which pushed Pools to within four points of safety.
Jordan Jones returned to the bench after his loan deal from Middlesbrough was extended until the end of the season.
But there was no place in the squad for either Jack Compton or Marvin Morgan - the pair have not been included at all in the past three games.
Ex-Pools loanee Rakish Bingham started the game on the bench for Mansfield, the striker spent a month on loan at The Vic in January before being recalled by Stags boss Adam Murray.
Pools showed plenty of intent in the opening 20 minutes, without creating too much in front of goal to trouble Stags keeper Lenny Pidgeley.
Ryan Bird and Brad Walker were full of running early on but it was Mansfield that threatened first.
Junior Brown and Michael Raynes - who Moore tried to sign earlier in the season - both headed wide from corners.
The ball, as has been in the case in recent home matches, spent a lot of the time high in the air as both sides struggled to dominate possession.
Pools were dealt a major blow in the 33rd minute, Scott Harrison, who had earlier taken a heavy knock to the head, could no longer continue.
Jordan Jones came on, with Pools reverting to a 4-4-2 formation, with Michael Duckworth slotting in at left-back.
The change disrupted Pools, with the visitors enjoying their best spell of the match, chasing and harrying Pools into mistakes.
Murray’s men looked compact and composed on the ball, while Pools were struggling for ideas in the final third as the first half ended goalless.
Half-time: Pools 0 Mansfield 0
Within two minutes of the re-start, Pools had the breakthrough they needed.
Nicky Featherstone, of all people, broke into the area before being brought down by Lee Beevers for a penalty. Referee Darren Handley didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot.
Walker was quickest to pick up the ball and after a slight delay he calmly sent Pidgeley the wrong way with a fine finish.
Pools were then handed a further boost when Junior Brown was shown a straight red card for a high, late boot into the face of Walker in the 59th minute.
Moore’s men were showing plenty of fight and spirit as they looked to close the points gap further.
Billy Kee and Raynes were both booked for the visitors as the pressure cooker cranked up a little further.
Kee saw his fiercely struck free-kick saved before Jordan Jones’ tantalising cross was cleared from the six-yard line.
Sub Reggie Lambe forced Flinders into another low save, while the Pools captain then produced a wonder stop to deny a 25-yard Clements piledriver.
In between Jordan Jones saw his sidefooted effort gathered by Pidgeley.
It was another tight and tense affair at Victoria Park, with both sides pressing as the clock ticked down.
But Pools saw off five minutes of added-on time to seal another crucial three points.
Full-Time: Pools 1 Mansfield 0
Pools (3-5-2): Flinders, Austin, Harrison (J. Jones, 32), Mirfin, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Walker (Hawkins, 90), Tshibola, Franks, Bird.
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Nelson-Addy, Smith, Harewood.
Booked: Tshibola (33)
Scorer: Walker pen (47)
Mansfield Town (4-5-1): Pidgeley, Beevers (Bingham, 71), Riley, Raynes, Elder, Heslop (Oliver, 50), McGuire, Clements, Brown, Kee, Hawkridge (Lambe, 52).
Subs Not Used: Studer, Sutton, Rhead, Ravenhill.
Booked: Clements (38), Key (63), Raynes (68)
Sent Off: Brown (59)
Referee: Darren Handley (Lancashire)
Attendance: 4,166 (317 Mansfield)