Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham 2 Leyton Orient 0: Manager Neil Harris on achieving survival in League 2 with a win over the league leaders at Priestfield

Beating the league leaders completed Gillingham’s survival bid to the delight of manager Neil Harris.

The Gills have been in promotion form since the turn of the year but an abysmal first half of the season meant it’s still been a fight to avoid the drop. A 2-0 win over Leyton Orient means Harris’ men are now mathematically safe from relegation with three games left to play.

“It is a great way to stay in the division,” Harris said. “We have beaten them 2-0 and there will be a lot of fanfare of how the game finished and rightly so, that’s the football rules, we can’t do anything about that, but we have just beaten Leyton Orient 2-0 at home to secure our status.

“It’s a fantastic result, a brilliant performance, well done to the players.”

Gillingham were under pressure early on as the league leaders dominated but a red card for Orient’s Omar Beckles for a foul on George Lapslie gave his side a free-kick on the edge of the box which Alex MacDonald stuck into the net.

Cheye Alexander scored from the penalty spot on 76 minutes to double the lead. A power-cut moments later led to a lengthy delay but the Gills had done enough, the win moving them up to 17th in the table.

“I wouldn’t say it was our best performance but on paper I would say it was our best result,” Harris said.

“For 12 minutes we were poor and they were excellent, they kept the ball, the game changer was the red card obviously, that put us in the ascendency. They still had players who can damage you one versus one but Glenn Morris (the Gills keeper) has not had to make a save in the 90 minutes.

“The game management was really good after the red card. I am delighted.

“I would like to place on record my congratulations to Richie Wellens (whose team were promoted despise the defeat) and his group, by far the best team over the course of the season. Orient deserve to be league champions.

“They came and popped the ball around and we turned it over too cheaply, completely chalk and cheese from where we were against Stockport (on Saturday) in the first 12 minutes. The red card changed the game for sure. The goal and the red card was a key factor.

“I just reminded the players at half-time we have 11 versus 10 and we are in the lead, that is why we saw a lot more control second half. It is tough playing against 10 men, us playing against Orient with 10 men was like us playing at Brentford or Wolves (in the League Cup run) with 11. When you stodge it up and make it really difficult and hit on the counter attack, anything can happen.

“I asked for game management and the players delivered it and the second goal was the killer. The moment that went in was when the game finished and then it was just about whether the actual game was going to finish.

“Cheye’s penalty going in for me was the relief moment, that is when I knew it was secure.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More