Two goals from Roy O'Donovan and a third from James Brown brought Hartlepool a step closer to safety with a 3-1 win against Colchester.
A late penalty from O'Donovan put all three points in Hartlepool's hands as they prepare for battle with the FA over Garry Liddle's illegal appearance against Brighton.
Liddle returned to the starting line-up following his two-match ban for accruing 10 yellow cards. Whether Hartlepool will be deducted three precious points for starting that ban one game too late will be thrashed out between the club and the FA over the next 10 days.
Colchester had taken the lead through Clive Platt after just eight minutes, but two minutes later Pools were level through Brown when he headed home Leon McSweeney's cross.
O'Donovan made it two after 19 minutes when he fired home Andy Monkhouse's through ball.
And the game was wrapped up six minutes from time when O'Donovan stepped up to slot home from the spot after McSweeney was brought down by sub Simon Hackney.
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