George Maris’ agonising late equaliser saw Mansfield’s wait for a first league win away from home continue.
Danny Rose marked his return to the Stags’ starting line-up with his first league goal since February.
The 24-year-old marksman was the Stags’ leading goal scorer in all competitions last season, but has been primarily used off the bench so far this term.
But his 26th-minute opener ensured the Stags extended their unbeaten run against Cambridge United to seven games, with Maris popping up with two minutes left to steal a point at the Abbey Stadium.
Manager David Flitcroft named two changes after last weekend’s defeat to high-flying Exeter City.
Malving Benning and scorer Rose came in with Hayden White and Calum Butcher the duo to depart.
It was a fiercely contested affair on a rain-soaked afternoon at the Abbey Stadium.
Shot stopper Bobby Olejnik produced a fine sprawling save to push Barry Corr’s effort wide.
Down the other end Rose squandered a great chance to gift the visitors the lead when he headed into the side netting after being found by Alex MacDonald at the back post.
But Rose was not to be denied for long with a sweetly struck half volley handing Flitcroft’s charges the lead after 26 minutes.
Ryan Sweeney was on hand to keep the Stags ahead with a goal-line clearance to thwart Reggie Lambe.
After the restart Neal Bishop blasted an effort wide, before Matt Preston forced David Forde into a good save at his near post.
And Rose came close to doubling his tally as his acrobatic effort hit the bar.
With 15 minutes left Olejnik pulled off a good reaction stop to keep out substitute Ade Azeez at the near post.
Super defender Sweeney was in the right place at the right time once again to clear George Maris’ goal-bound effort.
But Maris eventually got his reward as his deflected effort found the back of the net off the woodwork.
Cambridge: Forde, Halliday, Taylor, John, Carroll, Deegan, Maris, Amoo (Lewis, 80), Brown (O’Neil, 90+2), Lambe, Corr (Azeez, 68). Unused subs: Iron, Osadebe, Taft, Davies.
Mansfield: Olejnik, Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, Hamilton, Bishop, MacDonald, Benning, Khan (Elsnik, 76), Walker (Graham, 84), Rose. Unused subs: Logan, Gibbens, Butcher, Sterling-James, Atkinson.
Referee: Nick Kinseley.
Attendance: 3909 (475).