Ched Evans ensured Sheffield United stayed in the automatic promotion race after his penalty secured a 1-0 win at Hartlepool.
Evans' 25th goal of the season came after 78 minutes, the penalty awarded by assistant referee David McCallum after Sam Collins held the striker inside the area.
Neither side created much in the first half, but there was plenty of goalmouth incident in the second period.
Pools' Ryan Noble curled a 20-yard shot at goal that had keeper Steve Simonsen pedalling backwards to push over and Peter Hartley's goalbound header was cleared off the line by Kevin McDonald.
Richard Cresswell drew a low save from Pools' keeper Scott Flinders.
Pools were reduced to 10 men five minutes from time when Hartley collected his second booking, but they almost levelled when substitute Adam Boyd curled over from 20 yards and, in injury time, Antony Sweeney blazed wide from eight yards.