Steve Cotterill threw the plaudits at striker Ryan Bowman for netting a hat-trick just two weeks after being taken to hospital with heart palpitations.
Bowman’s opener was cancelled out by a Jack Iredale stunner, before Adam May was sent off for Cambridge.
Bowman, who suffered the heart issue at Ipswich earlier this month, then netted another two goals before Luke Leahy capped off the victory to lift Salop out of the drop zone.
Cotterill said: “It could have been more, we could have scored four before half-time, so in the end it was a deserved victory, we took our chances in the second when we perhaps didn’t in the first half.
“We began brightly, we’ve done that at the front and the back before now and did at Oxford funnily enough.
“We began on the front foot against a dangerous side, they’ve had good results and I’m really pleased for the boys tonight.
“It was a great day for Ryan Bowman, the lads have just signed his matchball and it is amazing what two weeks can do. It is a long time in football.
“I thought he was great and I know he will get all the plaudits today, but Dan Udoh was absolutely outstanding today, he was first class.
“Ryan’s finishing was brilliant, it was a perfect hat-trick although I couldn’t care if they went in off his knee, but it was nice for him to get a hat-trick.
“That is what I have wanted to see more of, that is more like the Ryan Bowman that I signed in the summer.”
Cambridge boss Mark Bonner insisted the red card changed the game.
He added: “The red did change things, it was the turning point at that moment in the game because we were in the ascendency and on top of it. We had them playing deep, but it turned the game and they got the goal soon after.
“But we didn’t finish well today, didn’t end well, but the chunk in the middle was good – that was changed by the red card.
“I initially thought it was a lunge and I don’t think it was a foul and he wasn’t going to give anything, but there was a lot of noise around that made his mind up which wasn’t helpful.
“It is frustrating to concede first again, we know we can get back into it but we don’t want to come from behind, especially when they have Bowman and Udoh up front today.
“It was tough for us today and we have to do better.
“Things didn’t work for us today, we tried but that’s how it went. We now need to knuckle down and find a way to get through the next few weeks.”
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