Ipswich manager Paul Cook and Bristol Rovers counterpart Joey Barton were both in agreement over the turning point of the game in Town’s 2-1 victory at Portman Road.
Two goals in the first 11 minutes were enough to ensure the win for an unconvincing Ipswich.
The first came after just 47 seconds when Rovers captain Luke Leahy sliced the ball into his own net after a clearance came off Gwion Edwards and into his path before Andre Dozzell’s sliced shot fell to Alan Judge to fire home.
Rovers pulled one back in the 18th minute after a dreadful error by Dozzell, who turned into trouble deep in his own half.
Jonah Ayunga fed Luke McCormick who dinked the ball over Ipswich goalkeeper Tomas Holy.
The Town shot-stopper was then lucky to remain on the pitch after clattering into Ayunga just outside the penalty area.
Cook said: “It was a good start but a terrible next 80 minutes.
“But we were resolute second half. When we had to defend, great credit to the players I felt they done it very well.
“Joey was fuming on the sidelines [about the Holy foul] and I understand his frustration and in my opinion it was possibly a red card, the keeper looks like he’s the back man and the referee has made a big call. Would that have changed the game? Possibly yes and I get Joey’s frustration.
“Ipswich is a big club and our players have got to step up to that but [today] is a step in the right direction and we have just got to make sure we get into them play-offs.”
The win saw Town climb to ninth, two points off the top six, while Rovers are now three points from safety.
Barton said: “I’m really frustrated with the officials but I have to be careful what I say.
“I can never fault the boys for effort and application, even in the midst of the mind-boggling mistakes they make at times. They’ve turned up and given us effort every time.
“This club should not be in the situation it’s in and it’s really difficult at this time. It’s the first time I’ve lost five games on the spin and these things are sent to test you.
“It’s painful now and it hurts now and you’ve got to believe that while there’s a fighting chance we’ll be driving in the belief but the lads have got to stop shooting themselves in the foot.”