Carlisle United surrendered a three-goal first half lead as Hartlepool bounced back after the break with three very well taken goals of their own which left the sides to share the points on what was an intriguing end of season afternoon at Brunton Park.
United created the first chance of the afternoon on five minutes when Dempsey clipped the ball to the edge of the box. Kennedy was unmarked and his accurate header had to be tipped over by Flinders as it threatened to creep under the bar.
Carlisle kept the pressure on and a half clearance fell nicely for Rigg just ten yards out. His first touch was heavy but a toe poke took it to Brough, who was in acres of space. He sent a low shot through bodies and a cheeky back heel from Kennedy was parried by the keeper as the midfielder set himself to celebrate.
Hartlepool had a good moment of their own when Featherstone sent the ball long. Fenwick was first to react and he made an opening for a shot as he dropped his shoulder and went past Buddle. He caught it well but he couldn't keep it down and it sailed high over the bar.
Former-Pools forward Charlie Wyke timed a run to perfection when he got onto a lobbed pass from Kennedy, as United picked up the tempo, but Bates recovered to make a vital block as the big striker spun to hit his volley. Austin was next to put his body on the line when Rigg took a direct route through the heart of the defence. A touch off the thigh of the defender was enough to deflect his thunderbolt over the bar. The corner was met by Buddle but his header flew just over the target.
The Cumbrians thought they'd grabbed the lead midway through the half when Young carried the ball out of his own half. A slide rule pass released Potts and his fierce shot from the angle was parried Flinders. Rigg was first to the follow up but it was difficult to control and he could only force it wide.
Crosses from Fenwick and Franks had to be dealt with as the visitors stepped up their attacking game, and Hugill was a whisker away from finding the back of the net when he was left to run free for another telling cross. He tried to find the far post and was disappointed to see it drop the wrong side of the upright.
He was made to pay for his miss almost immediately when Potts challenged for a loose ball on the edge of the Pools area. Dempsey collected it and he found a wonderful shot which curled its way past the keeper and into the bottom corner to make it eleven goals for the season for the first year professional.
United's second of the afternoon came from a wonderful set piece when Potts sat deep to deliver a sweet inswinger to the far post. Steven Rigg grabbed his sixth of the campaign with a well timed run and a sliding volley.
Carlisle were rampant and they scored their third of the afternoon with their very next attack when a Rigg header from a Dempsey corner was blocked on the line. Wyke challenged for it and Kennedy was there to thunder an unstoppable close range header into the net as the Pools defence looked on in anguish.
Scott Harrison blazed over from 35 yards as the visitors tried to calm things down, but Potts scuffed a volley over at the other end as the confidence continued to surge through the home ranks. Dempsey was next to rifle one over, after another patient build up, as the Cumbrians looked very good for their three-goal half time lead.
Substitute Marlon Harewood nodded wide as Hartlepool looked to regroup after the break but Wyke caused panic at the other end as he shielded a half clearance. Great footwork sent defenders this way and that, but an outstretched foot brought an end to the gathering excitement as it was nicked off the forward's toe.
Keeper Mark Gillespie received a deserved round of applause when he found himself facing Hugill on the edge of the area. A neat curler from the midfielder appeared to be going in until the stopper threw himself at it to tip it round the post.
Carlisle continued to look good going forward and an overlap from Potts on the left flank brought a superb delivery for Rigg to chase. Austin got there first and his clearance prevented the striker from getting his touch.
First year youth player Carl Taylor was given his first taste of first team football when he came onto the pitch with just under half an hour to play, but Carlisle were given a reminder that there was still work to do when Harewood stabbed a low cross across the face of goal. Gillespie saved from Harrison but Hugill was there to snap up the rebound.
And Pools came right back into it just 43 seconds later when Duckworth was allowed to rip through the heart of midfield. His crunching drive from 28 yards powered into the roof of the net as Gillespie could only stand back and watch.
Charlie Wyke missed a golden opportunity to restore a two-goal cushion when he followed a run from Brough. The cross put it on a plate but the forward took his eye off it and was left to ponder an air shot as the moment quickly passed.
Youngster Connor Hammell showed a moment of class when he pulled wide on the left before delivering a deep ball for Wyke to challenge for. Austin was once more the saviour as he intervened before a telling touch could be made.
Wyke went even closer with ten minutes left to play when he rattled a close range effort at Flinders. The ball spun up for Wyke to head and Austin completed an acrobatic goal line clearance to deny what looked a certain strike.
Hartlepool got their equaliser with five minutes to go as they ripped their way through the right flank with Tshibola and Harewood instrumental in the build up. Hugill held his run and was left with an easy finish as the ball came across.
Pools ended the game with their tails up and Bates almost grabbed all three points with a late dipper from 35 yards. Gillespie had to readjust to tip it over and he was needed again in time added on as Tshibola headed the corner delivery back across the face of goal and into his hands.
United - Dempsey (25), Rigg (31), Kennedy (33)
Pools - Hugill (63 & 85), Duckworth (64)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Young, Atkinson, Buddle, Brough, Potts (Thirlwell 74), Kennedy, Sweeney (Hammell 46), Dempsey, Rigg (Taylor 62), Wyke. Subs - Hanford, O'Hanlon, Griffith, Douglas.
Hartlepool United - Flinders, Austin, Bates, Franks, Nelson-Addy (Jones 56), Featherstone, Fenwick (Harewood 46), Duckworth, Hugill, Harrison, Tshibola. Subs - Walker, Miller, Parnaby, Maxted, Richards.
Referee - Mr Scott Mathieson
Attendance - 8,105 (2,224 away fans)