A howler from Hartlepool goalkeeper Ben Killip handed high-flying Stevenage all three points with a 1-0 victory at the Lamex Stadium.
Danny Rose’s 79th-minute winner, at the expense of the stricken Pools stopper, meant the Hertfordshire side remained three points behind League Two leaders Leyton Orient.
The result was harsh on the away side, who had matched the promotion contenders – despite their place in the table – until the winner.
They remain in the relegation zone while Boro are now three league games unbeaten.
It was the visitors who had the first big chance of the game when their leading scorer Josh Umerah planted a free header against the crossbar in the 11th minute.
The Pools number nine then put a first-time effort wide before Carl Piergianni headed wide with the hosts’ first attempt.
But the game was decided after the break when Rose stole in from behind the unfortunate Killip as he prepared to kick the ball downfield and placed it into the empty net.