As the O’s graced The Breyer Group Stadium surface for the first time in their newly released third strip, the men in braces started brightly in their penultimate pre-season fixture. The opening moments consisted of end-to-end action, however, the first real opportunity presented itself in the 12th minute.
A Gillingham forward found himself a yard of space outside the penalty area which ultimately resulted in a routine save for Lawrence Vigouroux.
Orient’s skipper Jobi McAnuff later provided the O’s with their first opportunity of the afternoon, but his effort from 25 yards was saved comfortably by Gillingham’s man between the sticks.
Just past the half-hour mark, Josh Wright was on the receiving end of a rather questionable challenge, however, the referee allowed the advantage to play out.
With Gillingham’s backs against the wall for a brief moment, the O’s had two opportunities to score through Danny Johnson and Ouss Cisse but neither could convert.
Just prior to half-time, Gills’ forward Vadaine Oliver found himself on the receiving end of a teasing ball into the area but his subsequent header sailed over the bar.
Minutes later, Johnson tried his luck from range but was unsuccessful. As the referee’s half-time whistle echoes around the Breyer Group Stadium, we entered the break goalless.
Ross Embleton made just a single change as the O’s entered the second half, as Lee Angol replaced the departed Conor Wilkinson. From the left-hand side, Angol made an instant impact and won numerous fouls for The O’s.
McAnuff stepped up with the first opportunity of the second half in the 51st minute, but his left-footed strike just dragged narrowly wide of the Gillingham goal. As the second half progressed, the O’s grew in confidence and the chances became more frequent.
Jordan Maguire-Drew was presented with a golden opportunity just past the hour mark. Amid a pinball-like sequence between Johnson and two Gillingham defenders, the ball eventually rolled towards the unmarked Maguire-Drew who fired his shot wide of the post.
With ten minutes left on the clock, the League One side were trying everything in search of that important winning goal. Nevertheless, the Orient defence remained resilient and Vigouroux claimed many of Gillingham’s dangerous deliveries into the penalty area.
Then, with just a matter of minutes left to play, it was Orient who broke the deadlock. Dan Happe’s clipped ball from the left-hand side fell into the path of Johnson, with the Orient striker managing to lob the keeper from distance and provided the O’s with their second pre-season victory.
In our final fixture of pre-season, Ross Embleton’s men travel to Bishop Stortford on Bank Holiday Monday and will look to build on their recent victory over Gillingham.
Leyton Orient XI: Vigouroux, Ling, Cisse, Happe, McAnuff, Wilkinson (45’), Maguire-Drew, Brophy, Turley, Johnson, Wright
Substitutes: Sargeant, Widdowson, Coulson, Clay, Dayton, Angol (45’), Ogie
Gillingham XI: Bonham, Jackson, Ogilvie, O’Keefe, Tucker, Medley, Dempsey, Graham, McKenzie, Oliver, Maghoma