Late winner could either be the making or breaking of Nahki Wells' starting XI hopes
Having gone with a twin attacking spearhead of Grant Holt and James Vaughan at Rotherham, Town fans arrived hoping for more of the same from manager Chris Powell against Bolton Wanderers, despite the late setback at the New York Stadium.
But they were apoplectic at the omission of Nahki Wells from the starting XI, particularly with Holt unable to play any part due to a knee injury that forced him to return to parent club Wigan Athletic.
Town had the better of the match overall in truth, but lacked a true cutting edge up front, with James Vaughan failing to repeat his goalscoring heroics on Boxing Day as two games in three days took its toll on the returning frontman.
The Bermudian remained patient, waiting for his chance to pounce and he took it in some style after emerging from the bench as a second-half replacement for Harry Bunn.
Playing off the shoulder as he loves to do, his finish was cool, calm and composed into the bottom corner and fans left the stadium hoping his impact off the bench has helped and not hindered his chances of strutting his stuff from the get-go next time around.
His aspirations of starting more matches were certainly strengthened by producing the winner, but it also served to both confirm and justify Powell's stance on the player and he may feel he can rely on the pint-sized striker's contribution more effectively in a super-sub capacity.
Jacob Butterfield the shining light in Town's engine room
It would do a disservice to Jonathan Hogg not to mention his combative qualities in a performance which highlighted his importance to this side, or the balance Conor Coady brings amongst the midfield trio.
In fact, the former Liverpool midfielder was Town's star man at Rotherham last time out with a display full of purpose and conviction, something that was sorely lacking from others at the New York Stadium on Boxing Day.
But here, the rest of the Town midfield were treated to a masterclass from Jacob Butterfield, who truly stepped up to the mark to deliver a performance full of poise, skill and execution.
The last point was emphasised by a simply stunning finish just before the break for Town, which gave them the platform to produce a measured performance after the interval.
His little shimmies to shrug off markers and his weight of pass were both delights to behold and a display of such quality and leadership proved he is capable of being the main man for Powell in the middle third of the field against a heavyweight in the form of Darren Pratley.
Togetherness can lift Town after weeks of woe
This invaluable 2-1 victory was only Town's second in nine games, arriving at the end of a period in which they posted a meagre five points from a possible 24 and plenty of questions being asked of whether or not Town were capable of picking up enough points in the battle for survival.
Capitulations at both Norwich City and Rotherham, albeit in entirely contrasting circumstances, plus the meek surrender at home to Birmingham City had led to a winter of discontent for Town fans but here each and every fan, player and staff member appeared to rally round one another to guide the team home.
Powell and his entourage were noticeably vocal and there were even cameos for fringe men Adam Hammill and Anthony Gerrard, who both contributed to the cause late on as Town held on valiantly to their lead.
The boss called for unity and a team spirit to be found to fend off both some extremely harsh critics and the testing run of games his side faced across the festive period.
He belatedly received it in abundance against Neil Lennon's side to help his side secure three points which could turn the season on its head.
Costly individual errors must be stopped
There were plenty of things to admire about Town's first win in five here, not least the defensive resolve they showed in clinging onto their late lead as they repelled everything thrown at them in a Bolton onslaught.
But they would never have been in that position and therefore had to fight back and toil quite so much throughout had they avoided an inexplicable loss of nerve in the opening seconds of the match.
That Pratley was allowed the freedom of the penalty area to first tee himself up and then lash home a thunderbolt off the underside of the crossbar inside the first 60 seconds was as alarming as it was preventable.
Having conceded twice late on at Rotherham, the last thing the manager would have wanted was a start as poor as this and it acted as an invitation for the visitors to follow the same blueprint Birmingham City implemented recently in sealing a smash-and-grab-raid 1-0 success.
Captain Mark Hudson's poor header out was primarily responsible but a serial lack of awareness amongst the defensive unit from the initial set piece on everyone's part initiated an uphill battle which Town were thankfully able to overcome.
January will be a big month for Town
The upcoming transfer window will go a long way to shaping how Powell and his side fare for the rest of the campaign, with various positions in need of bolstering after injuries and suspensions hit the Terriers hard.
A new goalkeeper has already been earmarked as a potential area for an addition after losing Joe Murphy to a foot injury, while defensively Town remain bereft of a true experienced partner for Hudson, whose form has wavered in recent times and looks in need of a pick-me-up.
In midfield, Powell cannot realistically expect to rely solely on his bona fide first-choice trio of Butterfield, Hogg and Coady and must reinforce the area, but he will equally be wary of upsetting the apple cart in the position with the trio working so well in tandem.
Grant Holt's loan spell from Wigan Athletic officially came to a close without a whimper after he returned to the Latics with a knee injury but he, too, will also have to be replaced with a forward in the same mould - one that can sufficiently bring the best out of both Wells and Vaughan.
It promises to be an eventful few weeks of transfer activity.