Trialist Rowan Vine bagged a late winner for Southend's reserves to see off Oxford 1-0 and leave a lasting impression on manager Paul Sturrock.
The Roots Hall encounter appeared set for stalemate on Tuesday afternoon until Vine, granted permission to play in the match by parent club QPR, netted in the 87th minute.
Sturrock may well now line up a loan move for the 29-year-old striker, with leading scorer Liam Dickinson out for the rest of the season nursing a broken ankle.
Centre-back Christian Dailly, 38, also started for the Shrimpers having been training with the club of late as he recovers from injury, as did former Southampton defender Ryan Tafazolli.
Southend also handed valuable match practice to the likes of Ryan Hall, Kane Ferdinand, Blair Sturrock, Pat Baldwin and Anto Flood, while Harry Crawford played his first match in almost six months after knee surgery.