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Leyton Orient 2 Gillingham 0 - pre-season defeat for Steve Evans’ men

Gillingham’s new league season is just a week away and their penultimate warm-up game ended in defeat.

The Gills found themselves two goals down at the break against their League 2 hosts and were unable to test the home keeper in the second half.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his side lose to Leyton Orient on Saturday
Gillingham manager Steve Evans watched his side lose to Leyton Orient on Saturday

Boss Steve Evans named most of his expected opening-day starters on the bench at Orient and left it until late before making changes.

Assuming the Norwich City game goes ahead - the Premier League side called off their weekend match because of Covid in their camp - then the Gills will complete their warm-up fixtures at Carrow Road on Tuesday night. It’s likely to be all-change with the line-up.

A handful of trialists were in action on Saturday while Connor Ogilvie was among the unused subs having picked up a knock in midweek. Experienced wide-man Mustaphe Carayol and Rob Hall (released by Oxford United) were names put to faces among those in action at Brisbane Road.

The opening half belonged to the League 2 side, taking a 2-0 lead into the break as the Gills struggled to work home keeper Lawrence Vigouroux despite the hard work of Hall. His free-kick at least forced a save from the Orient stopper.

Olly Lee also put an effort wide for the Gills but it was Orient who struck first, scoring in the 13th minute. Dan Kemp’s corner was won by Dan Happe and while Gills keeper Aaron Chapman’s claims of a foul fell on deaf ears, Beckles struck the ball home.

The home side had a second with their trialist converting from close-range in the 37th minute. The goal came after a patient passing move that ended with a cross into the box from Kemp that was met at the back stick.

Evans sent the same XI out for the second half despite having 13 substitutes at his disposal.

Gillingham created an early chance shortly after the restart as Orient defender Tom James came close to chesting an Olly Lee cross into his own net, hooking the ball clear just in time.

It was a close as the Gills got to scoring before nine changes arrived with just over 20 minutes left. Just before they did Beckles almost got a second as he diverted a free-kick into the grateful arms of Chapman.

The home keeper had to turn a Danny Lloyd cross over the bar and from the subsequent corner Christian Maghoma put a shot just wide. It was as close as Gillingham got to scoring.

Gillingham: Chapman (Trialist 68mins), Lintott (Akehurst 68mins), Maghoma, Ehmer (Bennett 68mins), Tutonda (Sithole 68mins), Trialist (Phillips 68mins), O’Keefe, Trialist (Dempsey 68mins), Lee (Reeves 68mins), Trialist (Lloyd 68mins), Akinde (Oliver 68mins). Subs not used: Ogilvie, Tucker, Gale, Cumming.

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, James, Wood (Papadopoulos 46mins), Happe, Clay, Kemp (Clarke 80mins), Trialist (Archibald 63mins), Pratlev, Beckles, Sotiriou, Kyprianou. Subs: Sergeant, Tanga, Young, Sweeney, Ogie.

Referee: Craig Hicks

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