Thrilled Cambridge boss Mark Bonner described his side’s thumping 5-0 win at Cheltenham as a “big result”.
Joe Ironside scored a second-half hat-trick as the U’s thrashed the only team to finish above them in Sky Bet League Two last season as both clubs made the step up to the third tier.
“Few teams will win here and score that many against them and I’m really pleased with everyone’s input,” Bonner said.
“Tonight was very good and everyone is buzzing. It was a big result for us. We needed a league win, so we’re absolutely thrilled.
“Wins are hard to come by in this league and these are the games we have to show up for and show our best performance levels.
“We’ve done ourselves a favour with the goal difference because we’ve let a few games run away from us.”
Former Robins loan striker Sam Smith opened the scoring in the 37th minute, slotting past Scott Flinders after Shilow Tracey’s ball forward was misjudged by Lewis Freestone in windy conditions.
It was Smith’s 11th goal of the campaign and seventh in his last nine games in all competitions.
Dan Crowley’s free-kick whistled past the right-hand post for Cheltenham in the 24th minute, but they created very little.
Cambridge, who finished as runners-up to champions Cheltenham in League Two last season, doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when George Williams’ ball from the right was smashed into his own net by defender Mattie Pollock.
Alfie May hit the crossbar for Cheltenham, but Smith set up Ironside for Cambridge’s third in the 63rd minute.
Ironside headed in his second from Adam May’s free-kick in the 73rd minute and then lashed in his third from substitute James Brophy’s flick two minutes from the end to take his tally for the season to 11.
Cheltenham’s five-game unbeaten run was ended abruptly by their joint heaviest defeat under boss Michael Duff, who said nothing to his players after the game.
“I’m only going to go in, lose my temper and say things I don’t mean and kick teapots over,” Duff said.
“The players will look at me and go ‘what are you doing, you idiot?’ so I’ll talk to them properly on Thursday.
“They know that’s not good enough.
“Ultimately, it’s trying to look at the bigger picture thinking as we always do.
“We are 12th in the league after 20 games. The players got booed off the pitch today and rightly so, but I’d like to think every single one of the supporters when they get home and the emotion comes out of them, they’ll reflect and go ‘we’ll take 12th after 20 games’.”