Report by Andrew Ford (who sensibly took the train!)
Gillingham slipped to a ninth away defeat in ten League One games with a 3-1 loss at Brisbane Road on Tuesday night. Traffic chaos in east London seriously delayed the arrival of some of our players, with team members travelling independently, but referee
Andy D'Urso refused to delay kick-off, resulting in Mark Stimson having to name players on his teamsheet who were not at the ground at the time the sheet was handed in.
The manager was forced to make changes he wouldn't otherwise have made, with Febian Brandy, for example, only making the bench, due to the fact that he only arrived at 7pm. Josh Gowling and Matt Fry, who completed their journeys on the Central Line tube, only got to the ground at 6.55pm.
The Gills got off to the worst possible start when the home side took the lead after four minutes, Ryan Jarvis shooting home from the edge of the penalty area after Jimmy Smith had headed Charlie Daniels' deep cross back.
After fourteen minutes, Nutter had the first of two good free kick opportunities, but curled the ball over after Simeon Jackson had been brought down. Four minutes later, neat play from Andy Barcham took the winger to the byline, but his cross was hit straight at the O's keeper by Mark McCammon, who should have done better.
However, Gillingham didn't have to wait long to level. A minute later, O's keeper Jamie Jones could only parry Jackson's shot, and Curtis Weston followed up to score low into the corner from just outside the six yard box, with nineteen minutes on the clock. Half chances fell to both sides just after the twenty-minute mark, Jarvis shooting wide of Royce's right hand post for The O's and Jackson curling a twenty-five yard effort over the bar.
Orient regained the lead after twenty-seven minutes. Weston lost possession in midfield and Sean Thornton went on to unleash a twenty-five yard effort that flew into the top corner.
A Weston break two minutes later looked promising for The Gills, the midfielder setting up Jackson, who shot tamely at the O's keeper. For the home side, Ryan Jarvis was put through after thirty-one minutes and saw his effort parried by Royce. The ball rebounded to Jarvis, who headed wide.
Gillingham's final chance of the half came five minutes before the break, Nutter sent another free kick over the bar, after McCammon had been bundled over.
Three minutes after the break, the home side extended their advantage, Luke Summerfield feeding Jimmy Smith, whose left-footed effort from just outside the area beat Royce.
The Gills hit back in what was a very open game, Bentley setting up Jackson four minutes later for a shot that O's keeper Jones parried.
After ten minutes of the second half, Orient had their own chance from a free kick not far outside the area, when Andros Townsend was fouled in a central area, but Thornton hit his effort over.
Febian Brandy replaced McCammon after fifty-eight minutes and, two minutes later, Jackson's shot from the edge of the area was gathered by Jones at the second attempt.
Barry Fuller replaced Lewis, who had not enjoyed the best of nights at right-back, immediately after and, on sixty-eight minutes, Oli came on for Bentley.
Jackson and Brandy were linking up well for The Gills and, with twenty minutes left, the former set up the latter, whose off-target strike clattered into the advertising hoardings behind the goal.
With seven minutes to go Orient almost managed a fourth, Townsend setting up substitute Patulea, whose shot was deflected over the bar.
As The O's ran the clock down, happy to protect their two goal lead, our last opportunity fell to Kevin Maher, whose shot from just outside the penalty area went well over.
Attendance: 3,183 (711 Gillingham)
Gillingham: Simon Royce, Stuart Lewis (Barry Fuller 62), Josh Gowling, Matt Fry, John Nutter, Mark Bentley (Dennis Oli 68), Curtis Weston, Kevin Maher, Andy Barcham, Mark McCammon (Febian Brandy 58), Simeon Jackson.
Subs not used - Chris Palmer, Alan Julian, Rashid Yussuff, Luke Rooney.
Leyton Orient: Jamie Jones, Stephen Purches, Ben Chorley, Tamika Mkandawire, Scott McGleish, Sean Thornton (Jason Demetriou 56), Charlie Daniels, Ryan Jarvis (Adrian Patulea 65), Luke Summerfield, Jimmy Smith, Andros Townsend.
Subs not used - Glenn Morris, Luke Ashworth, JJ Melligan, Andrew Cave-Brown, James Scowcroft.