Town 2 - 2 Cambridge. NOT quite the storybook ending for Peter Jackson and 10,000 magnificent fans, but everyone can rejoice in the fact Town are up and running in the season that might never have been.
Fans who chanted `there's only one Ken Davy' after giving a tumultuous welcome to Jackson didn't realise that the final takeover documents were signed only 24 hours before the game.
They were just ecstatic to see their team playing League football again and the backing they gave to Jackson's new-look line-up - including an historic eight club debutants - was terrific despite plenty of frustrations along the way.
Supporters have warmed to the new era, snapping up 6,400 season-tickets in just over a week, and they have taken to their hearts a manager who was so passionate about winning that when Dave Kitson headed Cambridge's late equaliser, he kicked a crate of waterbottles in disappointment and almost dislocated a knee!
That's the sort of commitment Jackson is demanding his players produce for the fans and, on that score, everyone was satisfied with what they saw against a tough Cambridge side who manager John Taylor believes can make the play-offs.
While the effort in 32 degrees of stifling heat could not be questioned, Town failed to match their pre-season promise in fluent passing and movement.
As a team, it never really happened for them.
Town's lack of height at the back was exposed as Dan Chillingworth nodded Cambridge ahead on 17 minutes from a flashing Shane Tudor free-kick and when Kitson repeated the punishment from Stuart Bimson's delivery barely 90 seconds from time. Andy Booth would probably have cleared both.
While Town need to improve on their discipline and stop conceding so many free-kicks, the ones from which the visitors scored were among the harshest of some strange decisions by referee Nigel Miller.
While the back line looked a little uneasy under pressure, especially in the first 25 minutes, it didn't help that Town failed to stamp any authority in midfield where Tony Carss, Lee Fowler and Tyrone Thompson can all play much better.
Danny Schofield worked hard on the left, tracking back to halt Chillingworth on a dangerous first-half break, but it wasn't until midway through the second half (Town's best spell) that he started to show his trickery around the Cambridge box.
With the team struggling to get into synch, perhaps it was no surprise that Jon Newby should have a quiet debut - he rattled just one shot on target - but he did provide valuable support for the star of the show.
This was Jon Stead's best 90 minutes in a Town shirt and he thoroughly deserved the goals which put Town 12th in the opening day table.
Stead not only worked hard to find pockets of space in the Cambridge box, but he harassed defenders throughout and managed to block several attempted clearances.
While goalkeeper Ian Gray produced one memorable save to tip away an acrobatic volley from Chillingworth on 68 mintues, Stead was the only Town player to really hit top form and he was on the end of most chances created.
Early on he forced keeper Shaun Marshall into a nervous punch on a high ball, teed up Carss for a shot and rattled another himself into the chest of the Cambridge No1.
Stead made no mistake, however, when Newby played him into space in the 30th minute, sliding a precision left-foot shot beyond the right hand of Marshall and low into the corner of the net.
It was a massive relief to the fans - Town's was the second highest Division III gate of the day behind Hull's 14,675 - especially as it came just a minute after Chillingworth had missed a great back-post chance to convert the speedy Tudor's cross for a Cambridge second.
Stead missed his kick when Martyn Booty's cross found him in space a few minutes later, but the 20-year-old Academy product carried his threat into the second half, when Jackson made the early switch of John Thorrington for Thompson on a pitch narrowed by two yards from last season.
Stead's persistence paid off with his second on 58 minutes, holding off a host of defenders to dispatch a raking right-foot drive from 19 yards, and Town were inspired into their best spell of the game.
Stead was flagged offside when Fowler and Newby combined to put him through for a 70th-minute finish which would have wrapped up the points and, 12 minutes from time, he was just off target with a header from Thorrington's perfect cross in a move started by Carss.
Town had a lucky escape on 82 minutes when Ian Hughes' slip allowed Kitson a free header which he planted wide, but he made no such mistake for the equaliser.
While it was a sickener for Town's faithful, it was a result the visitors deserved and the wild celebrations of their bench illustrated how much it meant.
Well organised and more fluent overall, they made Town work very hard for a point, but one factor should encourage Jackson his players and the fans.
Town can play far, far better than this and they've got an immediate chance to prove it against Derby in the Carling Cup first round tomorrow night.
TOWN FORM (4-4-2)
Ian Gray Stranded by poor marking for both goals, he made a fantastic save to deny Chillingworth's volley. Rating: 7/10
Martyn Booty On hand to block near the line from Tann, he made some strong clearances and put in a few decent crosses Rating: 6/10
Rob Edwards Caught in possession on a few occasions as Town failed to click but worked hard on his debut as skipper. Rating: 6/10
Steve Yates Solid effort, but admitted afterwards that Town couldn't cope with some mean set piece deliveries. Rating: 6/10
Ian Hughes Grafted hard in the terribly hot conditions as Chillingworth and Kitson caused the back line lots of problems. Rating: 6/10
Tyrone Thompson Made one or two strong tackles but wasn't positive enough with the ball at his feet. Rating: 5/10
Lee Fowler Got stuck in but not as influential on the ball as in pre-season as Town's fluency failed them most of the time. Rating: 6/10
Tony Carss Made some good runs into the box but wasn't picked out by teammates. Helped tee up a fine Stead chance Rating: 6/10
Danny Schofield Tracked back well to stop Chillingworth on a break near half time and helped set up Stead's second goal. Rating: 7/10
Jon Newby Had a couple of shots and worked hard but struggled to pose genuine threat to the visiting defence. Rating: 6/10
Jon Stead Scored two smashing goals and easily Town's best player. He made some cracking block tackles as well. Rating: 9/10
Marshall, Murray, Tann, Angus, Kitson (Nacca 90), Walker, Chillingworth (Turner 79), Guttridge, Venus, Bimson, Tudor (Revell 65).
Subs not used: Brennan, Duncan.
STAR MAN: Jon Stead
Terrific workrate through the whole game, he would have had a hat trick but for a linesman's flag. Also directed a good heading chance narrowly wide as Town looked to sew up the points but he was the one Town player to really show his true form.
TURNING POINT: Town's bad marking at the 89th-minute free-kick by Stuart Bimson which allowed Dave Kitson to rise unchallenged and plant an equalising header past stranded Town keeper Ian Gray (left).
Subs used:Town: Thorrington for Thompson 51, Worthington for Fowler 85. Cambridge: Revell for Tudor 65, Turner for Chillingworth 79, Nacca for Kitson 90.
Subs not used: Town: Senior, Sodje, Booth. Cambridge: Brennan, Duncan.
Scorers: Town: Stead 30 and 58. Cambridge: Chillingworth 17, Kitson 89.
Bookings: Town: Schofield, Stead. Cambridge: Murray.
Shots on target: Town 5, Cambridge 6.
Corners: Town 0, Cambridge 5.
Caught offside: Town 1, Cambridge 5.
Free-kicks awarded: Town 5, Cambridge 12.
Attendance: 10,319 (Away: 581).