Jermain Defoe repaid Sven-Goran Eriksson's faith with a goal as England sealed a crucial World Cup victory.
Defoe was one of two changes, with David James dropped for Paul Robinson and Alan Smith also axed.
He turned brilliantly to put England ahead after 36 minutes, but Maciej Zurawski levelled with a powerful finish two minutes after half-time.
England's winner came after 57 minutes when Arkadiusz Glowacki deflected Ashley Cole's cross past Jerzy Dudek.
It was a vital morale-booster for England after the disappointing draw in Austria, giving Sven-Goran Eriksson's side four points from their opening two games.
And Defoe's performance has given Eriksson a pleasant dilemma once Wayne Rooney recovers from his foot injury.
Defoe has looked comfortable at international level, but he was betrayed by over-anxiety as he wasted an opportunity to put England ahead after 20 minutes.
Wayne Bridge and Cole combined brilliantly to set up Defoe, but he sliced a volley well wide.
But he made no mistake when given a second opportunity nine minutes before half-time.
Defoe took a pass from David Beckham and turned brilliantly before firing into the far corner past Jerzy Dudek.
It was the perfect tonic for England, who had lost Gary Neville through injury seconds earlier, when he was replaced by Jamie Carragher.
The goal sparked Poland into life, and after a period of pressure leading up to the interval, they were level after 47 minutes.
Kamil Kosowski played in Zurawski, who gave Robinson no chance with a powerful finish.
But the Poles' joy was short-lived as England regained the lead after 57 minutes, when Cole's cross was diverted past Dudek by Glowacki.
England stepped up the pace, with Bridge denied by Dudek's fine diving save and Michael Owen narrowly off target.
Poland: Dudek, Mila (Kukielka 63), Rzasa, Zewlakow, Glowacki,
Bak, Rasiak (Niedzielan 69), Krzynowek, Zurawski, Lewandowski,
Kosowski (Gorawski 80).
Subs Not Used: Boruc, Klos, Baszcyznski, Smolarek.
Booked: Glowacki, Kukielka.
Goals: Zurawski 48.
England: Robinson, Neville (Carragher 32), Terry, King,
Ashley Cole, Beckham (Hargreaves 90), Lampard, Gerrard, Bridge,
Defoe (Dyer 87), Owen.
Subs Not Used: James, Wright-Phillips, Smith, Vassell.
Goals: Defoe 37, Glowacki 58 og.
Ref: Stefano Farina (Italy).