McCarthy was back in the Black Country for the first time since being sacked in February, ending a six-year spell with Wanderers, and was joined by assistant Terry Connor, who succeeded him in the Wolves hot seat before himself being replaced by Norwegian Solbakken in the summer.
A great ovation greeted the pair before kick-off and they also ended up having the last laugh amid a chorus of boos which rung around Molineux as Wolves’ miserable season continued.
Aaron Cresswell’s well-worked goal and neat finish, his third of the season, opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, and the points were secured by DJ Campbell just after the hour mark when he found himself clean through, a 10th goal in 16 appearances for the on-loan QPR striker.
McCarthy has now guided Ipswich to seven wins in 12 games since taking the reins at the start of November, compared to one in 13 prior to his appointment.
Wolves should have been awarded a penalty after just two minutes as Kevin Doyle latched onto Christophe Berra’s long ball only to be bundled over by Luke Chambers, who went unpunished.
Lee Martin immediately fired off target at the other end when he really should have done better, with the Town wide man shooting straight at Carl Ikeme soon after.
Wolves’ influential winger Bakary Sako twice sent efforts wide before the half-hour mark but there was very little to trouble either goalkeeper.
That was until the 33rd minute when Cresswell opened the scoring in style. The left-back ventured forward and, having laid the ball off, continued his run and received it back before finishing right footed inside the far post.
The home side produced very little in response and were duly booed off at the interval. Guirane N’Daw almost caught out Ikeme with a great 30-yard effort immediately after half-time.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, a reported January target for McCarthy, sent a teasing ball across goal which Doyle failed to connect with. A real lull in proceedings passed until the hour mark but the game was lit up by Campbell’s second.
The forward raced onto Bradley Orr’s long ball and waited for the right moment before sending a composed finish under Ikeme.
Solbakken immediately made a triple substitution, with the withdrawal of Doyle greeted by fierce opposition from supporters. And they voiced more displeasure at the full-time whistle as Town celebrated their first win at Molineux in 21 years, with substitute Michael Chopra wasting a great chance for a third in injury time.