Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Carlos Edwards came to the rescue for Roy Keane as Ipswich reacted to the manager's midweek criticism with victory over relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
The 31-year-old, who played under Keane at Sunderland, gave the visitors a half-time advantage with his first goal for the club on his return to the starting line-up.
Keane had accused his squad of lacking character after their defeat to struggling Peterborough in midweek.
But they showed the fight to satisfy their manager and secure a win which lifts them ahead of their opponents and out of the bottom three.
Ipswich were aided by a poor Wednesday performance that will intensify the anxiety around Hillsborough.
Wednesday were without captain Darren Purse, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Etienne Esajas came into the side for Tom Soares.
Keane responded to the defeat to Peterborough with customary ruthlessness. He made four changes to the starting line-up, with Brian Murphy, David Wright, Shane O'Connor and Edwards all coming in. And it took Edwards just 14 minutes to justify his recall.
The midfielder cut in from the right as defenders backed off, before he rifled a powerful shot across Lee Grant and into the goalkeeper's right-hand corner.
To that point it had been a rather gloomy opening, with Luke Varney's volley, which stung the hands of Brian Murphy on his Ipswich debut, the only real chance.
However, the goal ignited the contest. Marcus Tudgay, who had been wasteful, went close to levelling moments later.
The forward, playing just off Varney, stole a yard in the penalty box and rattled a right-footed shot against the bar.
Tudgay was just as central to another good chance for the hosts soon after.
His neat flick back from Esajas' cross-field ball set up the on-rushing Michael Gray, but goalkeeper Murphy was fast off the mark to smother the midfielder's effort.
Tudgay's eventful few minutes continued as he went down under pressure in the penalty area but the referee was quick to reject his appeals.
With Wednesday edging possession, Ipswich were increasingly confined to counter-attack football, and Daryl Murphy went close with a shot from a tight angle.
But the half ended as poorly it had started, with Esajas slicing a free-kick high into the visiting stand for the hosts.
Ipswich continued to be a threat on the break after half-time with Jack Colback sending Grant sprawling to his right to make a good save.
The visitors went close again seconds later with Damien Delaney heading against the bar from Edwards' cross.
The midfielder was then gifted a great chance as he seized on Esajas' wayward pass and scampered into the penalty area.
But, unlike in the first half, he could not find the bottom right corner.
Esajas was enduring a poor day and was the subject of much of the home fans' scorn.
Wednesday's uncertainty at the back encouraged the visitors, who increasingly pushed the hosts back.
Wednesday, though, could have levelled the game when the ball fell to substitute Leon Clarke at the far post. But Brian Murphy was again smart to see danger and snuff it out.
The visitors, though, were creating the better chances and thought they had scored a second late on with Jon Walters heading Grant Leadbitter's corner into the net, but the referee ruled it out for a push on the defender.
It did nothing to alter the result, though, as Ipswich closed out the game with relative ease.
Carlos: My goal was for the boss.
By Carl Marston (Green'Un24).
Carlos Edwards could just have scored the goal that saves manager Roy Keane's job in the long term.
Flying winger Edwards put a miserable season behind him to slam home his first goal for nearly three years, in a nerve-wracking relegation scrap at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Edwards' long-range strike, after 15 minutes, was enough to earn Ipswich Town a precious 1-0 win. In the process, the result saw Keane's men leapfrog hosts Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship table.
They are up to 19th position, three points clear of third-from-bottom Crystal Palace.
“We all knew what we had to do, after the disappointment of the Peterborough game (a 3-1 defeat). It couldn't get any worse after that game,” insisted Edwards.
“We simply had to go for it and get a result, because we all want the manager to stay.
“There's more pressure on the manager than the players, because it's he that goes and the players that remain.
“It preys on your mind, that if we keep losing then the board will act as fast as possible. We want to win games to make the manager safe. It's the manager who takes the blame.
And yes, as players we have let the manager down a bit this season, especially seeing as how successful he was as a player and as a manager at Sunderland.
“That meant there's been even more of a sour taste in the mouth, when we've not been winning most games,” added Edwards.
Reacting to the news that Saturday's match-winner was his first goal in nearly three years, Edwards added: “Wow! I knew it was a very long time, but you (journalists) know the stats better than me.
“I had forgotten how it felt to score a goal. I even forgot to celebrate! Scoring took me my surprise and I just looked to the bench and thought, OK, it actually went in!
“But I hadn't forgotten my previous goal.
“I can tell you that it was against Burnley, because that is my No.1 goal.
“And I also like playing against Sheffield Wednesday, because I scored my first goal for Sunderland here as well. I have a good record against them.
“I think not scoring has been down to a lack of confidence.
“The injuries have not helped me, and it got to the stage where I didn't know where my next goal was coming from.
“I hadn't been playing as well as before. I hadn't played the last four games, so I had to be patient and wait for my opportunity, rather than moan and sulk about the place. That would have been disrespectful to my team-mates,” added Edwards.
For the record, his previous goal had been a 30-yard wonder strike to secure a 3-2 win for Sunderland over Burnley on April 27, 2007.
Ironically, current Town team-mates Grant Leadbitter and Daryl Murphy were both involved in the build up to that goal, which helped the Black Cats to return to the top of the Championship table.
Edwards' first ever goal for Sunderland was netted at Sheffield Wednesday on January 20, 2007, in a 4-2 win.
Keane's Ipswich have another big relegation battle tomorrow evening, at fellow strugglers Sc**thorpe United.
Keane expects goals from Edwards.
By Jon Mcleod, Press Association Sport.
Ipswich manager Roy Keane praised Carlos Edwards after the midfielder's first goal for the club gave them a crucial 1-0 victory over relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
The 31-year-old rifled a long-range shot past the outstretched right arm of Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant on his return to the starting line-up.
It was his first league goal since April 2007 and the timing could not have been better for Ipswich, who jumped out of the drop zone and above their opponents in the table.
"He was fresh and hungry and he has that in his locker," said Keane, who brought Edwards to Ipswich after their stint together at Sunderland.
"He has goals in his locker and I am surprised he has not scored more for us. But as soon as he hit it, it had goal written all over that."
Keane was pleased with the result and the response from his team following some strong criticism from the manager after their midweek defeat to struggling Peterborough.
But he maintained his side must be more ruthless after watching them once again squander a number of second-half chances to safeguard the points.
"The result was a good reaction from Tuesday night," Keane said.
"The game should have been dead and buried and we put ourselves under pressure by missing chances."
Prior to the game Ipswich had squandered more points from winning positions, 22, than any other in the Championship.
And as Wednesday pushed forward in search of an equaliser in the second half, Keane's men could have ended the contest far earlier.
Damien Delaney headed against the bar, Jon Walters had a goal disallowed for a push and a number of teasing crosses went wasted.
"The problem hasn't been the goals we've conceded," said Keane. "It is the fact that we haven't finished teams off.
"What you've seen today has been the problem all season. We haven't been killing the game off with the second and third goals.
"We had opportunities when we were breaking and you put yourself under pressure.
"But we defended well enough and that was enough to win the game."
Keane's opposite number, Alan Irvine, was satisfied with his side's efforts but admitted they lacked the quality throughout the game.
"We are very disappointed. It was a big game for us and there is no hiding from that," he said.
"It was a game which were desperately hoping to win. The lads tried hard enough and worked hard enough and I can't fault them for that. But we perhaps didn't show enough composure or quality on the ball."
With the team deeply embroiled in a relegation battle, Irvine is anxious to see how his players react mentally under the increasing pressure.
"I am as worried as I have been," he said. "I have said all along that we need six wins and I am more worried about the fact that that is another game gone and we still need six wins.
"I am confident the players have enough ability to stay in this division and I'm confident we'll do the organisational side of it and get prepared for games.
"The big thing that I am really still trying to find out about is the character of the players and whether they have the mental strengths to do it."
Trinis in action (20 - 21, Feb-10).
English Premiership League
Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland
Kenwyne Jones ( 79)
English Championship League
Crystal Palace 0-1 Coventry City
Stern John (not considered)
Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Ipswich Town
Carlos Edwards (full game, 15)
English League One
Walsall 2-1 Brentford
Clayton Ince (full game)
Milton Keynes Dons 3-1 Southend United
Kelvin Jack (bench)
English League Two
Darlington 2-3 Chesterfield
Kevin Austin (bench)
Wrexham 2-0 Crawley Town
Silvio Spann (full gane)
Gateshead 1-3 Ebbsfleet United
Ricky Shakes ( 79, 28)
Belgian Jupiler League
Zulte-Waregem 1-1 Roeselare
Khaleem Hyland (not considered)
Sun, February 21
English Premiership League
Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
Jlloyd Samuel (not considered)
Wigan Athletic 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Jason Scotland (Bench)
Turkish Super Lig
Diyarbakirspor 0-2 Denizlispor
Darryl Roberts ( 77,)