The striker did for Bristol City on Saturday, and headed an 85th-minute goal as the visitors edged a tight and entertaining contest at Burton Albion.
A first clean sheet in seven games added to the satisfaction of a 11th win of the season.
Town were playing their first-ever competitive game against Burton, enjoying their maiden Championship campaign after promotion in both the last two seasons.
Nigel Clough’s side went into the clash with an impressive home record of five wins and two draws in nine games, with only six goals conceded at the Pirelli Stadium.
Town, playing the second of three games in seven days, lost the last time they faced a Clough-managed team, going down 3-0 along the A38 at Derby County in February 2013.
David Wagner’s men, who go to Norwich City on Friday, were chasing a fourth away win and 11th of the season in all after the 2-1 home success against Bristol City on Saturday, when Burton lost 2-1 at Brentford.
Burton had centre-back Kyle McFadzean back from a four-game ban and included former Town player Lucas Akins on the right wing.
There was also a change of referee, with Lancashire’s Jeremy Simpson in the middle rather than James Adcock, of Nottinghamshire.
The rain had relented by kick-off, and Burton began brightly as Town lined up with Billing pushing up in front of midfielders Jonathan Hogg and Aaron Mooy.
Cranie was called on to head clear from a Matty Palmer free-kick, but in general, Town looked composed and in control defensively in the opening stages.
Jamie Ward had the first shot on target after 10 minutes, but Town keeper Danny Ward gathered safely.
At the other end, Billing’s low drive was saved before Nahki Wells turned a Cranie cross wide in Town’s first serious attacks, but Christopher Schindler made a crucial tackle to thwart Ward before Damien McCrory shot over from distance.
Wagner had warned Burton would provide a big test, and Town’s defence was certainly the busier over the first half hour.
Jackson Irvine’s foul on Elias Kachunga brought Town a free-kick, but Wells lofted an ambitious attempt wide.
Billing was taking every opportunity to utilise his long throw, but the home side were also defending solidly.
Burton keeper Jon McLaughlin had a nervous moment when he slipped under pressure from Wells, but Burton survived.
Michael Hefele got his head to Palmer’s free-kick delivery, then Town cleared an awkward corner by the same player.
Then Ward scythed his way into the Town area, but curled his shot wide and later bent a free-kick over after Hefele’s pull on Chris O'Grady early in the second half.
Then Burton had McCrory to thank for clearing Kachunga’s hooked volley off the line.
Cranie crucially tackled Lloyd Dyer as he shaped to shoot, then Wagner made a double change after 56 minutes - van La Parra and Palmer came on, with Bunn and Billing making way.
Town’s Palmer was soon booked for a foul on Burton’s Palmer!
Holmes-Dennis and Akins had shots saved and blocked respectively in the 66th minute as play opened up and began to swing from end to end as both sides chased a winner.
Then Holmes-Dennis was replaced by Lowe in Town’s final change after 70 minutes.
Hefele was yellow carded for a foul on Jackson Irvine before the late drama of Wells’ winner.
Kachunga looked set to double the lead but was beaten by John Brayford’s well-timed tackle inside the area while Cranie became the third Town man booked late on.