Orient score twice in the second half at Brisbane Road to clinch victory against Gills.
Paul Smyth and Ruel Sotiriou scored in the second half as Leyton Orient beat Gillingham 2-0 at Brisbane Road on Tuesday evening.
Neil Harris made three changes to the side that drew at home to Barrow at the weekend. Stuart O’Keefe, Jordan Green and Lewis Walker all came into the starting XI. Alex MacDonald, Scott Kashket and Mikael Mandron dropped to the bench.
Former Gills loanee Charlie Kelman was named among the substitutes for Leyton Orient.
Theo Archibald had the first opportunity of the game for the hosts. A corner into the box came back out to the wide man, who cut inside on his left foot. He struck his effort across the goal with plenty of venom. Fortunately, it flashed wide of the target, leaving Glenn Morris untroubled.
Gills had a big chance to take the lead in the 18th minute. Green did brilliantly to win the ball before taking it in field. He played a great through pass for O’Keefe, who had made his way into the penalty area and had space. The Gillingham captain tried to square the ball across the goal into the path of Walker rather than shoot, but it took a deflection as it went into the hands of Lawrence Vigouroux.
Walker had a half chance a couple of minutes later. He did well to chest down a long ball forward before striking on the half-volley. However, his effort went over the bar.
Jayden Wareham found the side netting in the 34th minute. He managed to get into the Gillingham penalty area before shifting the ball onto his left foot from a tight angle. Elkan Baggott was there to close the Orient man down before Wareham aimed his shot for the near post. Fortunately, he hit the side netting with Glenn Morris well placed to save.
HALF-TIME: Leyton Orient 0-0 Gillingham
Aaron Drinan had the first chance of the second half. A cross towards the penalty area flicked up into the path of Drinan, who found himself with plenty of room. He directed a header goalward but could not find the target as it looped over the crossbar.
Paul Smyth however gave Leyton Orient the lead in the 52nd minute. Archibald played a ball down the left into the penalty area, and Smyth got on the end of it. He cut inside on his right foot before creating space for himself and firing a low-driven effort towards the near post and beyond Morris.
Gills had a fantastic opportunity to level the score in the 67th minute. Will Wright received the ball from distance and was able to try his luck. His effort had some power behind it as it forced Vigouroux into a palmed save. The rebound fell for Baggott, who struck it on the half-volley. He tried to angle his effort towards the target, but it went wide of the goal.
Ruel Sotiriou, who came on as a sub, doubled the Orient lead in the 73rd minute. Archibald got his second assist of the night as he got down the right before cutting the ball back into the penalty area. It took a slight deflection before sitting up nicely for Sotiriou to fire home from just outside the six-yard box.
FULL-TIME: Leyton Orient 2-0 Gillingham
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, James (Clay 82’), Happe, Beckles, Hunt, Archibald (Kelman 82’), Brown (El Mizouni 69’), Pratley, Drinan, Wareham (Sotiriou 63’), Smyth (Duke-McKenna 82’)
Unused Substitutes: Sargeant, Ogie
Gillingham: Morris, Wright (Mnoga 80’), Ehmer, Baggott, Alexander (Law 67’), McKenzie, O’Keefe (Kashket 67’), Jefferies, Green (MacDonald 75’), Adelakun, Walker (Mandron 75’)
Unused Substitutes: Turner, Chambers
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 7099 (936 Gills supporters)