Town failed to make the most of the 15th-minute lead given them by Simon Ferry as Pools 'keeper Scott Finders kept his team in the game.
And 12 minutes after coming on as a substitute, former Robins winger Andy Monkhouse turned in a headed pass from Jonathan Franks to earn bottom of the table Hartlepool a surprise draw and ensure they have now taken seven points from the last nine on offer.
"To stay in this league would be better than promotion in my view. Now we have to maintain the momentum of recent good results and continue to improve," Hughes said.
"I told Monkhouse earlier in the week he would have a part to play and he certainly played his part when coming off the bench.
"Flinders made two unbelievable saves but my man of the match was Sam Collins, who was outstanding in defence. Sam was solid heading the ball and in organising the defence.
"I said to the players at half-time to be solid for the next 20 minutes and the chances would come and that is what happened."