Orient run riot at Matchroom Stadium as Gills are heavily beaten by League One promotion chasersGills suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient on Saturday afternoon, losing 5-1 at the Matchroom Stadium.
The visitors found themselves two behind in the first nine minutes with Dean Cox and Dave Mooney getting on the score sheet, and that early pressure seemed to deflate the Gills as they struggled to cope with Orient’s pace and power.
Russell Slade’s men scored two more before the break with Mooney and former Gills loanee Kevin Lisbie beating Stuart Nelson to effectively secure all three points before half time.
Substitute Chris Dagnall added a fifth before Craig Fagan bagged a consolation – his strike earning him a second goal in four matches.
Peter Taylor made three changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 by Peterborough midweek with Charlie Lee, Jake Hessenthaler and Fagan replacing Ryan Inniss, Bradley Dack and Steven Gregory.
Leon Legge was unable to take his place in the squad, so Gary Borrowdale was included as defensive cover while Charlie Lee partnered Adam Barrett at centre-back.
The hosts included Romain Vincelot in their team – the midfielder having spent a spell on loan at Priestfield last season.
And it was Orient who burst out of the blocks and took the lead on four minutes.
Midfielder John Lundstram spotted Mooney in space on the left hand side of the penalty area, picked out the forward and he beat Stuart Nelson with a clinical finish to give Russell Slade’s side an early lead.
The advantage, to the visiting fans disappointment, was doubled just five minutes later when Mooney heard the call of Cox just outside the penalty area.
He had just enough time and space to pick his spot, and his accurate drive beat the diving Nelson who was at full stretch to his left hand side.
Gills struggled to weather the storm but resisted yet more pressure – Mooney’s long range effort stopped by Nelson before Linganzi produced the first shot on target for the visitors when his left foot effort was more than comfortable for Jamie Jones in the home goal.
With 11 minutes to go until the break Orient netted a third when Moses Odubajo, who had proved a handful for Joe Martin on the right wing, delivered a second successive teasing cross in to the box, and this time the former Premiership forward failed to miss as his powerful header flew in to the net.
It was Kevin’s 15th goal of the season, but he didn’t have an awful lot of time to take it in as, less than 60 seconds later, a fourth was being celebrated.
The O’s broke down the left wing courtesy of Cox, he got the better of Michael Harriman and had the simple task of picking out Mooney who couldn’t miss from a few yards out to send the home supporters in to a frenzy with still 10 minutes to go until half time.
On 39 minutes it could well have been five had it not been for Adam Barrett’s last ditch block to prevent Lisbie a brace, the same player sent a header wide with Cox also having a volley blocked by Harriman.
No changes were made at the break by boss Peter Taylor but the visitors proved harder to break down following the interval.
An early shot by Cox was saved by Nelson before another effort by Lisbie was deflected over the bar.
Clear cut chances proved few and far between for the hosts in the second half as Gills dug in and tried to prevent any further damage.
However the hosts refused to declare at four goals – Cox thwarted by Lee prior to Odubajo going it alone and sending a left foot shot high of the target.
Their pressure finally did pay off on 78 minutes when Dagnall, who had come on for Mooney eight minutes earlier, went on a fine solo run and advanced to the edge of the box.
He produced a decent shot which, although lacked pace, certainly didn’t lack accuracy and Nelson was unable to get anything on it as the striker placed his effort across the face of the Gills keeper and in the bottom corner.
And the goals didn’t stop there – Gills finally got a reward for proving a tougher outfit in the second period. Martin beat his market and got to the byline before producing a cross to the back post.
Linganzi wasn’t able to get any menaingul contact, the ball made its way to Fagan who watched it all the way and fired an effort on goal.
The effort beat Jones, and although a defender did get a touch, the shot was on target and Craig was able to celebrate a second goal in four outings.
It was a mere consolation however with not one of the Gills players celebrating the goal, and barring a blocked effort by Dagnall in the last couple of minutes, the rest of the game passed without incident as the visitors were comprehensively beaten by a side who are likely to have to go through the play-offs if they want to seal promotion to the Championship.
As for Gills, they remain five points clear of the bottom four with games against Tranmere, Walsall, Preston and Shrewsbury to come.
Gills: Nelson, Harriman (Smith 67), Lee, Barrett, Martin, Hessenthaler (Gregory 89), Hewitt, Linganzi, Weston (Birchall 64), Fagan, McDonald.
Unused subs: Baxter, Borrowdale, Whelpdale, Akinfenwa
Orient: Jones, Omozusi, Vincelot (Ness 70), Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, Lisbie (Batt 79), Mooney (Dagnall 70), Odubajo, Clarke, Lundstram.
Unused subs: Larkins, Sawyer, James, Simpson
Attendance: 5128 (1154 Gills)
Referee: C Boyeson
Yellow Cards: Lee 16, Clarke 19
Goals: Mooney 5 & 35, Cox 9, Lisbie 34, Dagnall 78, Fagan 82