Bruno Ecuele Manga’s first goal for nearly a year gave Cardiff a precious 1-0 victory over Sky Bet Championship play-off rivals Ipswich.
Manga had failed to find the net since scoring in a 1-1 home draw with Bournemouth almost a year to the day.
But the Gabon central defender rose to thunder home Peter Whittingham’s 18th-minute corner and move Cardiff three points above Ipswich in the scramble for a play-off place.
Cardiff remain in seventh place, one position and one point away from the top six, but Russell Slade’s Bluebirds are moving in the right direction with four wins in their last six games.
Ipswich had plenty of possession and territory, but they were devoid of a cutting edge and Mick McCarthy’s men have now won only two of their last seven games.
The visitors started in confident fashion as if determined to test goalkeeper Simon Moore, who was making his first league appearance since the start of October with David Marshall suffering from flu.
Freddie Sears forced Moore into a fifth-minute save with the goalkeeper only gathering at the second attempt.
Moore failed to convince from a Ben Pringle corner, allowing Daryl Murphy a sight of goal which he failed to take, but it was Cardiff who were to profit from a set-piece three minutes later.
Whittingham sent over a delightful corner and Manga lost his marker to head home in powerful fashion.
The wideman’s delivery was to become a feature of the first period but Cardiff were unable to capitalise on the high-delivery balls which were arrowed into the Ipswich penalty area.
Despite the excellent movement of Sears, Ipswich were also struggling to create chances, although Murphy headed over under pressure from Matthew Connolly.
Ipswich probably considered themselves unfortunate to be behind at half-time and they continued to force the game.
Pringle drove over from Murphy’s flick-on and, when Moore flapped under pressure from Sears, Scott Malone was in the right place near the Cardiff goal-line to hack the ball away to safety.
Malone was then prominent at the other end when he burst on to Lex Immers’ back-heel but was unable to keep his shot down from 25 yards.
The outstanding Whittingham and Anthony Pilkington might have provided Cardiff with some breathing space in the final quarter, but Ipswich’s endeavour to claim a point eventually ran out of steam.