Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper admitted his side lacked a "killer touch" after conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at Colchester.
Pools looked like they would secure victory thanks to Antony Sweeney's early header. But Freddie Sears' late penalty rescued Colchester a point and maintained their three-point advantage over Hartlepool in the table.
Cooper said: "A second goal would have killed the game and we had chances to do that. We have to be more lethal and punish teams and we had one or two opportunities.
"To come to Colchester and get a point is a good point but I'm disappointed we didn't get all three. I felt we gifted them the penalty and that was the most frustrating thing.
"I was pleased with the performance overall away from home. I thought we played a lot of good stuff and performed well but we're disappointed not to come away with three points.
"We gave away a slack penalty near the end and Paul (Murray) is experienced enough to know not to challenge someone in that area. In that area, he (Gavin Massey) wasn't really a threat to us. I was frustrated with that but we put a lot of hard work in and that was excellent."