The Town striker brilliantly grabbed an 88th-minute winner, one that Ipswich ultimately deserved after finishing the game on top.
They went in at half-time a goal ahead thanks to Kevin Bru’s deft finish but Bristol City hit back when Tammy Abraham scored his 12th goal in 24 league matches following a defensive mix-up involving Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and defender Christophe Berra.
It was left to Pitman to steal the show and relieve some of the pressure that had been mounting on manager Mick McCarthy.
A cagey first half threatened to come alive at times with both sides having half-chances.
The first shot of any note came in the 12th minute when away midfielder Josh Brownhill’s 25-yard free-kick was held by Bialkowski, while at the other end David McGoldrick fired just wide of the far post.
Minutes later, Bristol City danger-man Abraham looked to have a clear run on goal but his path was ultimately blocked by the alert Luke Chambers.
The breakthrough came in the 39th minute when Adam Webster found Tom Lawrence in space down the left and his dangerous low cross was neatly turned in by Bru.
Bristol City looked to bounce back straight from the restart and Luke Freeman’s goal-bound shot was charged down by Berra after the wideman muscled his way past Myles Kenlock.
But they were level seven minutes into the second half in farcical circumstances when sub Joe Bryan hung up a cross which saw Bialkowski and Berra collide going for the ball and Abraham poke it into the empty net.
Ipswich almost regained their lead shortly before the hour mark when Lawrence’s deep cross was headed back across goal by Chambers and Marlon Pack unwittingly headed the ball against his own crossbar.
Lawrence tested the palms of Frank Fielding with 15 minutes left with both Chambers and Pitman going close from the resulting corners.
Ipswich should have gone ahead in the 79th minute when Pitman’s brilliant first-time through-ball sent Freddie Sears clear. The ball evaded the oncoming Fielding but Sears’ effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Bryan.
The winner finally came in the 88th minute in fantastic fashion after Lawrence released Sears down the right and his perfect cross produced a brilliant overhead from Pitman to give Fielding no chance.