Pre-season friendly overshadowed by serious injury to summer signing Lee Martin
The Gills lost their final pre-season friendly ahead of the 2016/17 EFL League One season against Leyton Orient on Saturday, a game that was overshadowed by a serious injury to summer signing Lee Martin.
The midfielder, who had replaced Bradley Dack at the interval, picked up a suspected broken ankle in the 76th minute. Manager Justin Edinburgh has provided an update on his condition here.
First-half goals from Jordan Bowery and a Jay Simpson penalty gave the hosts the victory in front of 701 fans inside the Matchroom Stadium in east London, but the Gills were arguably the better team throughout.
Manager Edinburgh was able to hand Deji Oshilaja his first start of pre-season, with the Cardiff City loanee playing alongside Max Ehmer in defence. Joe Quigley partnered Cody McDonald upfront, and it was the latter who had the first chance of note on 15 minutes.
McDonald was too strong for O's defender Yvan Erichot but, having outmuscled his man, saw his header saved by goalkeeper Alex Cisak.
Former Orient midfielder Josh Wright came even closer on 21 minutes. Following good hold-up play by Jake Hessenthaler, his shot was heading for the top corner before Cisak acrobatically managed to divert it away from goal.
From the resulting Dack corner, one that the hosts only part-cleared, Mark Byrne fed in Quigley, whose volley was also well saved by the Orient goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, Quigley's good work saw Hessenthaler go through on goal, but Cisak once again saved.
Against the run of play, Bowery opened the scoring on 32 minutes. Former Colchester United winger Gavin Massey did brilliantly on the right-wing, and his cutback found the O's striker who scored despite scuffing his shot.
They doubled their advantage right on half-time, after Ryan Jackson was harshly adjudged to have fouled Harry Cornick in the box. Simpson blazed home the penalty.
The Gills came within inches of pulling a goal back on 55 minutes, as Paul Konchesky played in Martin on the left-wing. His cutback found Mark Byrne, who shot just wide.
Goalkeeper Stuart Nelson kept the visitors in the game barely 60 seconds later, brilliantly denying the onrushing Bowery converting from six yards following an incisive through ball by Simpson.
Orient came even closer on 75 minutes, when Dean Cox's delivery fell to substitute Ollie Palmer, who glanced a header onto the post.
However, the game fell into insignificance on 76 minutes, when Martin picked up a serious injury as he attempted to cross into the box. Eight minutes after he began receiving pitchside treatment, managers Edinburgh and Andy Hessenthaler agreed for the game to end early.
F/T (after 83 minutes): 2-0
The Gills begin their League One season with a trip to Essex rivals Southend United on Saturday, August 6. Nearly 1,500 away tickets have already been sold for the Roots Hall fixture - can you help us #selloutsouthend?