Gillingham registered their first league win in nine after a roller-coaster finish to Saturday’s game.
Cody McDonald bagged the winner with virtually the last kick just moments after Leyton Orient levelled the scores with an injury-time goal of their own.
Danny Kedwell had a first half penalty saved for the Gills but Orient made no mistake when handed one themselves, early in the second half, with Italian Andrea Plasmati scoring from the spot.
Leon Legge scored twice to put the Gills ahead but Michael Doughty’s dismissal meant they were hanging on. Orient levelled on 93 minutes but McDonald snatched the points at the death.
Left-back Adam Chicksen was handed a debut for the Gills. The Brighton loanee replaced suspended Joe Martin.
Gills boss Peter Taylor decided against bringing Cody McDonald back into the team, instead preferring to leave Danny Kedwell up top with Jermaine McGlashan and Brennan Dickenson providing support from the flanks.
Kedwell had the perfect opportunity to put the Gills in front, when referee Darren Deadman awarded the hosts a penalty after just six minutes, when Dickenson was fouled by Scott Cuthbert.
But the Gills No.9 hit his penalty low and without enough power, enabling keeper Adam Legzdins to save. It was Kedwell’s third penalty miss of the season. He had scored from the rebound from the other two but Legzdins held this one to his chest.
The Gills continued to show some good spells on the ball but they lacked penetration, leaving Legzdins untroubled for the rest of the half.
Home keeper Stuart Nelson wasn’t overly either but Orient did have more opportunities at goal. Visiting winger Dean Cox slid onto the end of one cross and put it into the side netting. He fired another one at Nelson.
Orient went ahead three minutes after the restart, scoring from the penalty spot through Plasmati. He hesitated with the run-out before tucking the ball home after Nelson committed himself to the right.
It took the Gills seven minutes to level. Jake Hessenthaler whipped in a free-kick and Legge’s looping header was out of Legzdins’ reach.
The Gills went infront from an almost identical situation. Hessenthaler once again swung in a free-kick and Legge was there to power home a header with 16 minutes left.
But for the second time in two games the Gills went down to 10 men. Doughty – on a yellow card for a first half foul – appeared to pick up his second for kicking the ball away with 17 minutes left.
Referee Deadman could have given Orient’s Bradley Pritchard his marching orders moments later. The forward, also on a yellow, took a dive but the official let him off with a warning.
Gills keeper Nelson pulled off a great block in stoppage time to deny Orient sub David Mooney from close-range.
Orient equalised when Chris Dagnall powered home a header in stoppage time but Gillingham weren’t to be denied, as sub McDonald pounced on a Brennan Dickenson corner and swept the ball home.
Gillingham: Nelson, Hoyte, Chicksen, Egan, Legge, Loft, Hessenthaler, Doughty, Dickenson, Kedwell (McDonald 61mins), McGlashan (Dack 61mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Fish, German, Linganzi, Norris.
Leyton Orient: Legzdins, Cuthbert, Dossena, Lowry (Baudry 69mins), Clarke, Vincelot, Cox, Wright, Pritchard, Simpson (Mooney 39mins), Plasmati (Dagnall 61mins). Subs not used: Omozusi, Sawyer, Batt, Woods.
Attendance: 5,891 (804 away)