Oxford boss Chris Wilder was proud with his players` efforts despite seeing his side crash to a 1-0 defeat to Gillingham.
Cody McDonald scored the only goal of the game in the 40th minute when pouncing on a weak backpass from Oxford's new captain Jake Wright.
The striker, on a season-long loan from Norwich, rounded keeper Ryan Clarke and slotted home with ease.
Wilder said: "My players gave it a right go in the second half and we've got to do that again at Chesterfield on Tuesday when no doubt everyone will be writing us off again.
"There'll be a lot of bullets flying about. We've just got to keep working and keep believing."