Oxford United have fallen two points off the pace in League Two with a 3-2 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle.
Andy Monkhouse was sent off for a second bookable offence with 20 minutes remaining on the clock, but Hartlepool held on for a point.
Scunthorpe United also dropped points at Bury and are now third in the standings. Sam Winnall scored twice for the visitors but was then sent off, allowing the home side to take advantage of their numerical superiority through Chris Sedgwick and Daniel Nardiello to earn a 2-2 draw at the JD Stadium.
Burton Albion went level on points with Scunthorpe but are a place behind in fourth on goal difference with a 1-0 home victory over Northampton Town, Ian Sharps with the winner five minutes from full time at the Pirelli Stadium.
Newport County's 1-0 triumph at Wycombe Wanderers earlier on Boxing Day means that they are now fifth, with Southend United and Rochdale in sixth and seventh after wins over AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale respectively.
Meanwhile, Northampton stay at the foot of the table with 18 points from 22 matches, three points behind Bury, who are a point from safety.
Result in full: AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Southend, Accrington Stanley 1-1 York City, Burton Albion 1-0 Northampton Town, Bury 2-2 Scunthorpe, Cheltenham 1-0 Exeter City, Chesterfield 1-1 Hartlepool, Morecambe 1-0 Fleetwood, Oxford United 2-3 Plymouth Argyle, Rochdale 3-0 Mansfield