Danny Webb’s youngsters withheld early pressure and made their chances count as Andrew Camilo-Tayaca and Jaedon Phillips notched to secure the victory.
Orient got proceedings underway, though failed to see much of the ball in the opening 20 minutes as Gillingham applied pressure on the O’s back line.
The first chance of the game fell to a Gillingham defender just outside the box, whose goal bound effort was deflected behind for a corner by the knee of Toby Stevenson.
Arthur Janata was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers, but looked comfortable as strong defending restricted the opposition to long range shots.
The first Orient chance of the game fell to Andrew Camilo-Tayaca when played in down the wing by Jaedon Phillips, but despite getting in a good area the right back fired his shot high and wide of the goal.
Phillips then came close to opening the scoring when Alfie Fleming’s low cross into the box fell to his feet having evaded the Gillingham defence, but despite getting a shot away the ball was somehow cleared off the line by an on running defender.
The O’s were growing into the game as the half wore on, enjoying a lot more possession and looked the more likely to grab the opening goal.
Heavy pressure from the home side resulted in a deep free-kick which was swung in by Amin Benyoucef and only partly cleared in to the path of Ernold Haxhiu whose 20-yard volley clipped the corner of the crossbar and bounced out of play.
Impressive play from trialist Mikhail Hemans then led to the O’s making the breakthrough, as the winger beat his man with a nutmeg and then drilled a low cross across the box for Camilo-Tayaca, who despite slipping, slotted a tidy finish into the corner of the goal.
The O’s then picked up where they left off at the beginning of the second half as they pressed forward in search of a second goal.
The attacking play soon paid off when Charles Clayden’s shot was blocked and fell to Phillips who got the ball out of his feet and curled a beautiful shot around the keeper into the corner of the net.
After the second goal, the O’s eased the pressure on Gillingham and started to focus on keeping their lead.
A quick counter attack saw Hermans hold up the ball and find space to release Camilo-Tayaca down the right wing and after beating his man for pace, fired in a low cross which was inches beyond Hermans who had continued his run.
Orient saw out the remaining minutes with a very solid defensive display and they never looked like conceding.
On the performance, boss Danny Webb said; “They’ve done well, and it’s been a tough pre-season for them physically. I like my pre-seasons to be very tough and almost to push the lads to the limit.
“There were a few little niggles on the way where a lot of the first-year scholars especially aren’t used to the intensity of training every day so that was always going to happen.
“I think the first 20 minutes was a lesson to the first-years about Category Three youth team football. We played Fulham last week and it was possession based from both teams, but today was more up and at them.
“I thought Gillingham were the much better team in the first 20 minutes but to be fair to our boys we were resilient, didn’t concede and went in at half time 1-0 up,” Webb added.
“I was really pleased with the Arthur in goal and the two centre backs Teddy and Toby. I’ve started playing Toby as a left sided centre back to see what he is like there and he’s blown me away – he has been excellent these last couple of games.
“We had Ernold sitting in front who is only a first-year, and I think he will go on to very good things.
“Four or five performed well throughout the 90 minutes, while a lot of the lads had a good hour of football. I made my feelings known at half time that the first 20 minutes wasn’t good enough, and I was really pleased with their reaction. There was no sulking, they understood where I was coming from and they certainly improved after the break.”
ORIENT: Arthur Janata, Andrew Camilo-Tayaca, Teddy Perkins (C), Toby Stevenson, Alfie Fleming, Ernold Haxhiu, Jaedon Phillips, Amin Benyoucef, Charles Clayden (Brendon Shabani 81), Mikhail Hemans, Sam Dalby (Will Sanders 82)
SUBS: Tyrone Wills-Alvarer, Wynford Marfo
GOALS: Andrew Camilo-Tayaca, Jaedon Phillips