Gigi Del Neri was indebted to Claudio Winck as the substitute, introduced with 14 minutes to play, popped up in injury time to seal Hellas Verona's progression to the next round of the Coppa Italia.
The ex-Chievo coach was appointed as Andrea Mandorlini's successor on Monday and, on a showery night in northern Italian, with the side yet to record a victory in Serie A and still reeling from their ignominous 3-2 defeat to newboys Frosinone, the veteran boss was given a jolt as he begins to realise the scale of the task at the Bentegodi.
Napoli, currently sitting at the summit of the league table, await the Mastini in the next round.
Ebb and flow
Despite the hosts' on paper superiority, it was the Lega Pro outfit who made the brighter start, with Tomasso Bellazini prompting fingertips from goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini after Luca Ghiringhelli had scurried down the flank and delivered a teasing cut-back.
The Gialloblu responded with an opportunity of their own. Luca Toni, making his second successive start since returning from injury, rose highest from a corner but his header met the side netting.
Chances were at a premium as the second-half progressed with the crowd, admittedly sparse given the context, beginning to grow restless.
The second-half began in similar vain to the first, with Pavia foiling the home side as they approached the final third. The visitors, understandably, offered little in penetration down the other end.
But Pavia, sensing that the Gialloblu were there for the taking given their lowly position in the top-flight, began to grow in confidence and, on 73 minutes, fashioned their best chance of the contest.
Andrea Ferretti collected a pass in space but his attempt flew wide of Gollini's goal.
Hellas, as well, started to exploit the gaps vacated by their guests.
Lubomir Tupta, partnering Toni ahead of Giampaolo Pazzini, barren since he arrived in Verona, drove down the left and picked out his strike partner in the danger area. His header, though, was weak and Davide Facchini saved smartly.
Just as the tie seemed destined for extra-time, however, the Mastini sunk a dagger into the hearts of the travelling contingent.
Emil Hallfredsson’s cross was only half-cleared and when the ball fell invitingly to Winck, he kept his compose and dispatched beyond Facchini to the former Genoa, Juventus and Chievo coach Del Neri victory on his bow as Verona boss.