Arfield stooped to keep Burnley at the top of the Championship with a hard-fought victory.
The midfielder headed Kieran Trippier's cross into the far corner in the 80th minute to give the Clarets their ninth win in 10 matches.
The final score was harsh on Ipswich, who shaded the chances and more than matched the league leaders.
In a cagey first half, the best either side could muster in the opening exchanges was a decent block by Jason Shackell after David McGoldrick had been teed up by Daryl Murphy's header.
At the other end, Burnley, the league's second-top scorers, were finding chances hard to come by.
Town keeper Dean Gerken saved comfortably from Arfield's weak effort before Dean Marney dissected the home defence to release Trippier, but his dangerous low cross was missed by both attackers and defenders alike.
Gerken would contribute no further as he was forced off in the 39th minute and replaced by Scott Loach.
Ipswich were just shading it in terms of openings, with Michael Duff clearing McGoldrick's powder-puff shot and Paul Anderson heading wide after Town pounced on a rare moment of indecision in the Burnley box when Trippier sliced a clearance high into the air.
The game finally burst into life in the final two minutes of the half. Heaton flapped at a looping Luke Hyam cross but Cole Skuse was denied a first goal for Ipswich when his expert half-volley was cleared off the line by Trippier.
Then in injury time, Skuse rifled a 25-yard shot just wide after picking up Ryan Tunnicliffe's low pass inside.
Little over a minute had been played in the second half when Ipswich continued where they had left off.
Aaron Cresswell floated in a delicate inswinging free-kick but Christophe Berra could not get enough on his header to threaten Heaton.
It was hearts-in-mouths time for the hosts when Sam Vokes at first broke clear and then tumbled over with Luke Chambers in close proximity, but the referee rightly adjudged that the striker had tripped over his own feet.
On 57 minutes, Ipswich had an even better shout for a penalty when Cresswell, beautifully played in by McGoldrick's backheel, saw his goalbound shot deflected by Shackell but the protests from the home players were waved away.
On the hour mark, Anderson went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after his 20-yard shot fizzed just wide after Ben Mee had closed down McGoldrick.
The second half was becoming a much better spectacle and Michael Kightly tested substitute keeper Loach from 20 yards before McGoldrick's shot at the other end had power but not the desired accuracy to trouble Heaton.
With the game edging towards a stalemate, Burnley took the lead with 10 minutes to go. David Jones fed Trippier on the right-hand side and his low cross was headed into the far corner by Arfield.