Second half replacement Helder Pelembe scored four minutes from the end to snatch a 1-0 PSL victory over visiting Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday
Pirates suffered consecutive defeats to Mpumalanga Black Aces and SuperSport United before Tuesday's victory, which resulted in a dangerous slide down the table as the season neared its conclusion.
Happy Jele watched as his headed effort was cleared off the line shortly after, while Oupa Manyisa and Mpho Makola also threatened from distance.
Despite bossing possession and enjoying the greater share of opportunities at goal, the Buccaneers were unable to find the spark they required to break the deadlock and at times seemed to lack urgency in the middle of the park.
The Buccaneers were in with an early chance after the half-time break, as Thamsanqa Gabuza was let in behind the Maritzburg defence, after defender Mohammed Awal failed to clear, but the Pirates striker sent his shot straight at the goalkeeper, who made a simple stop.
United, whose attackers had been largely anonymous for much of the game until that point, had a double chance in the space of two minutes as Orlando Smeekes and Heinrich Isaacks forced goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa into a pair of superb saves shortly before the hour mark.
There would be more frustration for the Sea Robbers, who lost their rhythm and found the going tough in front of goal, where wayward shots and wasted opportunities were in abundance, while any notable highlights and goal-mouth action was notably absent.
With the clock winding down and the threat of a goalless draw beckoning, Pelembe popped up in the area and rounded off a superb delivery from Gabuza, to all but secure a smash-and-grab victory for the former champions.
With three points in the bag, Pirates moved to 40 points for the campaign, level with SuperSport and Aces, but lead the pair due to a superior goal-difference.