Richard Day reports as a late penalty decision robs the Gills of deserved victoryA couple of refereeing decisions robbed the Gills of a deserved victory against league leaders Leyton Orient at a bitterly cold and snowy Beechings Cross on Saturday morning.
The visitors were lucky to escape with just a yellow card when the marauding Kane Haysman was sent crashing as he bore down on goal and if that wasn’t bad enough they salvaged a point after being awarded a harsh last-minute penalty.
Darren Hare’s team, which included a number of new scholars and trialists, had outplayed the O’s for long periods of the game and looked on course to take all three points until referee Mark Scott awarded a spot-kick in the 90th minute – the ball being smacked at Aaron Millbank from close range.
Ross Ibbertson had already fired a shot just inches wide before the Gills took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock. Millbank was the instigator, he played the ball out wide to Ibbertson and his first-time low cross was excellently swept home by Jack Sellens from around eight yards.
The home side went close again through a long distance strike from Kane Haysman but it was Andy Edwards O’s that levelled matters three minutes from the break when Harrison Georgiou was able to intercept Tom Gowans clearance and he beat the stranded keeper when stroking home from just outside the area.
Unfortunately the finger-numbing conditions made it far from ideal for goalkeepers and the visitors Gines Roseque-German was at fault when the Gills re-took the lead five minutes into the second-half. He somehow allowed Aiden Blanchard’s shot to get past him and could only watch as it rolled into the net.
Some great work from half-time substitute Charlie Webster then set up a chance for Haysman but his brave diving header cannoned back off the post.
Another chance to increase the lead came in the 57th minute when the referee had little option but to award a penalty when Alex Finney upended Millbank in the area. Unfortunately the Orient keeper redeemed himself a little bit by saving Millbank’s spot-kick low to his right.
It was at this point that Georgiou, one of three defenders chasing back, was only booked after a last-ditch tackle on Haysman as he broke through on goal.
That didn’t seem to matter too much until the visitors laid siege on the Gills goal in the closing minutes and they were harshly given the penalty from which Affy Obafemi slotted home the equaliser.
The result did however extend the Gills unbeaten run to three games.
Gills – Gowans, Butcher, Dickenson (Emptage H/T), Bennett, Staunton, Ibbertson (Webster H/T), Smith-Joseph (Giles 55m), Blanchard, Millbank, Sellens, Haysman