Luke Chambers’ early header ended Town’s barren run in front of goal before Freddie Sears had Portman Road on its feet to seal the win.
Chambers got on the end of Sears’ cross to put Blues in front, Town’s first goal in six games. Burton had chances to level, notably Lucas Akins and Lloyd Dyer who both failed to find the net from good positions.
Leon Best was denied a first goal for Blues but with three minutes left on the clock, Sears struck his first goal since December to prompt celebrations on and off the pitch.
Town made two changes to the side that drew at Blackburn, the injured Jonathan Douglas missing out, with Kevin Bru and Teddy Bishop coming into midfield. Grant Ward dropped to the bench.
Akins fired high and wide in the game’s first opening, Chris O’Grady then seeing his shot deflected to safety.
It was Town who struck though on 15 minutes, Kevin Bru releasing Sears and from his cross, Chambers beat Jon McLaughlin with a diving header.
Bishop then did superbly to rob Dyer as he broke from a Town corner, Chambers then showing good awareness to stop Jamie Ward getting in.
Kyle McFadzean headed over from a corner, Akins failed to hit the target when clean through in a great chance for the visitors then the ball wouldn’t come down for Sears from a Best touch when the Town striker looked set to pounce.
Best showed good awareness again to almost find Sears with a pass inside the box but Burton continued to carry a threat and Dyer sidefooted the ball wide after Bart Bialkowski had parried Ward’s shot.
Bru improvised brilliantly to divert a cross goalwards but McLaughlin was equal to the task, then the Mauritius international had a hooked shot deflected wide with the ‘keeper wrong-footed.
Dyer blasted over after the impressive Ward set him up, Burton having a shout for handball when Best got in the way of a shot then Tom Lawrence weaved his way into the box at the other end but his cross was cleared by McFadzean.
Bialkowski did well to keep out John Brayford’s effort at the near post after Ward had been the architect of the move again as Town ended an entertaining first-half ahead.
Blues started the second-half on the front foot, Jonas Knudsen linking up with Sears to cross from the left, Ben Turner first to the ball to clear the danger.
Chambers did well to head clear from Matt Palmer’s cross as Burton responded, then Knudsen threatened again as he attacked the bouncing ball in the visitors’ box.
Lawrence’s excellent driving run created an opening for Best but with his shot destined for the far corner, McFadzean blocked brilliantly. Burton immediately broke and O’Grady had a shot smothered away at the other end.
Knudsen launched a missile of a throw to find Sears clear in the box and from his cross, Lawrence’s shot was deflected into Bishop’s path but under pressure he fired over.
Conor Grant replaced the injured Cole Skuse just past the hour, then Best again provided a chance, this time for Knudsen that was blocked, the Republic of Ireland then forcing McLaughlin into a save.
Best followed up with another effort deflected wide as Town pressed for a second, Blues making a second change with Ward on for Bishop.
Referee Oliver Langford stopped play with McFadzean lying injured in the box and Lawrence clear on goal to anger the home fans and the Town management, Paul Digby then becoming Blues’ final change with Best making way.
The goal the Blue Army wanted came three minutes from time, Lawrence the creator and Sears firing into the net, with every player including Bialkowski, who raced the length of the pitch, joining in with the celebrations as Town ended a run of six games without a win to go within three points of the Play-Offs.
Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers, Berra, Bishop (Ward 68), Skuse (Grant 63), Best (Digby 82), Webster, Bru, Sears, Lawrence. Subs not used: Gerken, Emmanuel, Kenlock, Dozzell. Booked: Skuse.
Burton: McLaughlin, Brayford (Flanagan 88), Mousinho (Harness 83), McFadzean, Turner, O'Grady, Akins, Dyer, Ward, Palmer, Irvine. Subs not used: Bywater, Williamson, Naylor, Miller, Choudhury. Booked: Irvine, Mousinho.