Barnsley grabbed a vital away point but it could and should have been all three.
The Tykes dominated the opening hour of the game, but a red card for defender Tony Vaughan was the turning point.
Hartlepool cashed in against the 10 men and after being outplayed for so long, the home team finished on top desperately searching for the winner.
Vaughan was sent off on 63 minutes for a spectacular foul that sent home striker Joel Porter flying near the touchline.
There had been other bad fouls in an untidy game, but none had been punished with a straight red card.
Barnsley had taken the lead on 37 minutes when Tony Kay got away on the right and crossed low to the far post for Michael Chopra – on loan from Hartlepool's neighbours Newcastle – to slam in a close-range shot at the far post.
The goal gave Barnsley the confidence they have been missing so far this season, and they looked a slick side as they threatened to increase their lead.
But the Vaughan sending off changed the complexion of the game completely and Hartlepool were good enough to cash in as Barnsley panicked for the last half-hour.
The equaliser came on 77 minutes when home substitute Steven Istead headed a deep left-wing cross back into the middle and Adam Boyd headed his fourth goal of the season from close-range.
That was the signal for a desperate finish from both sides, but Barnsley deserved to hold on for their point after being the better side for so long.