THE winning smiles said it all: Town are on the up!
There were hugs and high-fives as beaming players signalled a fourth successive win to their magnificent chorus of 763 travelling fans.
And jubilant manager Peter Jackson greeted every one of his gritty warriors as they left the pitch with a highest League placing of the season under their belts.
This wasn't a victory etched in fluency and flair, it was carved out of honest toil and delivered by Jon Stead's first ever penalty - his 18th goal of a stellar season - and Jon Worthington's clever overhead kick.
That Adam Tann should score a last-minute consolation past an injured Phil Senior was par for the course -Town have a goal difference of three when their promotion rivals are well into double figures - but it took nothing away from a deserved win in a scrappy match.
Did I mention the word promotion? No-one in the Town camp should be afraid of it.
Jackson's mix of youth and experience have proved against the likes of Doncaster, Hull and other leading sides that they can trade slick, skilful football with the best of them.
Now, they are illustrating a willing aptitude for the more rudimentary side of the game - chasing, blocking and bleeding sweat - and it is paying off when conditions dictate that chances to entertain will be more limited.
Darlington, Bury and now Cambridge have been beaten in such circumstances and it augurs well for a side held together by a corps of elder statesmen but bristling with youthful ebullience.
Nathan Clarke was at the heart of Saturday's hard-earned success, but teamwork was the key as Town maintained their record of never having lost at the Abbey Stadium.
Steve Yates and Efe Sodje were both in prime form and, with wing-backs Anthony Lloyd and Andy Holdsworth sticking to their guns, a Cambridge side with a woeful home record were limited to very few opportunities to try and improve.
In midfield, Town didn't particularly click, even though there was plenty of hard graft from Worthington, Danny Schofield and substitute Chris Holland, whose 35th minute block on Luke Guttridge near the edge of the box illustrated the desire and determination in the Town ranks which so delighted the manager.
Up front, Brown had another promising game and Stead was simply terrific.
Apart from an early Brown header onto the roof of the net from a Rob Edwards corner - the skipper was forced off suffering another hamstring strain - and Worthington's goal six minutes from time, Stead was involved in every dangerous move Town created on a slippery surface which leant itself to mistimed tackles.
Referee Andy Hall was over-fussy and awarded a massive 44 free kicks in the game, although there were no protests from Cambridge when Warren Goodhind was penalised for handball in a melee two minutes before half time and Stead hammered home the resulting penalty in the absence of Edwards and the injured Tony Carss.
By then, Stead was well into his stride, chasing every loose ball, holding off defenders with the strength of Samson and creating chances out of nothing to the delight of the travelling faithful.
Goodhind had to come to Cambridge's rescue on 23 minutes as Stead managed to poke a shot towards goal in a tremendous scramble, while the lanky frontman curled a 25-yard free-kick inches over the bar and then brought a wonderful save out of Shaun Marshall with a blistering 42nd-minute drive laid on by Brown's industrious flick.
It was from the following corner which Town earned their penalty and the stage seemed set for them to take control in the second half, but Cambridge had other ideas as they dominated possession and pushed Town back without seriously stretching Clarke and his craggy cohorts.
A fierce Fred Murray drive was the best Cambridge could offer to test Senior, who had faltered just once when presenting a chance to Goodhind until his dead-leg injury 12 minutes from time.
Cambridge tried to pepper him with high balls which eventually paid off with Tann's goal, after an initial effort had hit a post, but by then Town had sealed the points.
Stead (who else?) was the creator, twisting his way free to earn a corner with a low shot which Marshall could only touch around his righthand post.
When Schofield's flag-kick was only partially cleared, Stead won the follow-up header and Worthington did the rest with a close-range overhead kick which gave the fans an enjoyable journey home.
HOW THEY RATED
Phil Senior Struggled through the last 12 minutes injured and would otherwise have had a clean sheet. Fine save from Murray Rating: 6/10
Anthony Lloyd Had a tough task against the speedy Tudor but marked him well. Chased forward late on to illustrate Town's determination Rating: 6/10
Andy Holdsworth Battling show against Murray, who was playing in a more advanced position than usual. Made some useful clearances Rating: 6/10
Steve Yates It is no coincidence that Town's improved run has come with him back in the team. Cool and collected throughout Rating: 7/10
Efe Sodje Had the ball in the net at one stage but the whistle had gone. Very solid match and won the aerial battle Rating: 7/10
Nathan Clarke Terrific at sweeper. His covering offered the home side few chances and he always seemed to be in the right place Rating: 8/10
Rob Edwards Supplied some testing corners and free kicks before being forced off with another hamstring injury on 32 minutes Rating: 6/10
Jon Worthington Clever overhead kick to seal the points with his second goal in as many games and his third of the season. Worked hard Rating: 7/10
Danny Schofield Grafted and took on the dead-ball duties when Edwards went off. Didn't have any clear chances, however Rating: 6/10
Nat Brown Landed a header on the roof of the net and again linked nicely with Stead to create danger for the home defence Rating: 7/10
Jon Stead Thrashed home his first ever penalty and had all Town's best chances, creating some for himself. Excellent. Rating: 7/10
Subs used: Cambridge: Revell for Turner 62, Peat for Murray 75. Town: Holland for Edwards 32.
Subs not used: Cambridge: Brennan, Angus, Bridges. Town: Giles, Thorrington, Mattis, Mirfin.
Scorers: Cambridge: Tann 90. Town: Stead (pen) 43, Worthington 84.
Referee: Andy Hall (Birmingham).
Bookings: Cambridge: Goodhind. Town: Worthington, Holdsworth.
Shots on target: Cambridge 3, Town 5.
Corners: Cambridge 4, Town 9.
Caught offside: Cambridge 0, Town 1.
Free-kicks awarded: Cambridge 22, Town 22.
Attendance: 3,667 (Away: 763).