Leyton Orient will be looking to cause an upset when they travel to League One side Gillingham in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.
Steve Davis’ men secured their spot in the first round with a 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge in the fourth qualifying round replay. Macauley Bonne’s 23rd minute finish proved to be the difference on a night under the lights at Brisbane Road.
The O’s, who sit 19th in the National League, come into the match on the back of a 2-2 draw with Wrexham. The O’s fell behind when Chris Holroyd scored after just 44 seconds, but fought back to level the scores on 22 minutes thanks to Bonne. Holroyd doubled his tally to put the Welsh side ahead with 20 minutes left, before Orient loanee Mark Ellis nodded an equaliser five minutes from time to earn Orient a valuable point.
They make the short trip to Kent in search of a much-needed confidence boost. Having failed to win in their last 10 league matches, the FA Cup will provide Orient with fresh focus and a chance to impress against higher opposition.
Meanwhile, Gillingham have endured a turbulent start to the season themselves, sitting 22nd in League One. Manager Ady Pennock departed the club by mutual consent in September, leaving director of football Peter Taylor to oversee the first team. However, Taylor chose to step aside after just three league games so first team coach Steve Lovell has been placed in caretaker charge.
This season the Gills have won just three of their 16 league games, but have taken seven points from a possible 12 since Lovell took over. This included wins at play-off chasing Rotherham and Peterborough United, plus a draw against high-flying Wigan Athletic.
Both sides have experienced the magic of the FA Cup in the past, but it will be Orient who have their eyes on causing an upset this Saturday.
Ones to Watch
Orient striker Macauley Bonne will look to add to his FA Cup goal tally this weekend, having scored the winner against Dagenham in the fourth round of qualifying. Bonne celebrated his 22nd birthday last week, and capped it off with his eighth league goal of the season against Wrexham.
Midfielder Zain Westbrooke made his first start for the O’s on Saturday with the Brentford loanee turning 21 on the day, and will surely be pushing for a place in Steve Davis’ starting 11 again this weekend.
For the Gills, striker Josh Parker bagged a brace in their 3-1 win at Rotherham last weekend and will be hoping to retain his starting place against the O’s this time around. The 26-year-old is a versatile attacking player who provides pace and goal scoring threat.
Also, striker Tom Eaves gives the Gills a different dimension in attack. The 25-year-old stands at 191cm tall and provides an aerial threat. Eaves has scored six goals for the Gills this season, four of which have been headers.
Previous 6 Results
|Wrexham 2-2 Orient||Rotherham United 1-3 Gillingham|
|Orient 0-2 Gateshead||Gillingham 1-2 Northampton Town|
|Orient 0-1 Macclesfield Town||Gillingham 1-1 Wigan Athletic|
|Orient 1-0 Dagenham and Redbridge (FA Cup)||Peterborough United 0-1 Gillingham|
|Dagenham and Redbridge 0-0 Orient (FA Cup)||Gillingham 0-1 Portsmouth|
|Barrow 2-2 Orient||Colchester United 0-1 Gillingham (EFL Trophy)|
Stats and Facts
- Last season, Orient were knocked out at the FA Cup first-round suffering a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of then League One Sheffield United.
- The O’s kept a clean sheet in both of their qualifying round matches against Dagenham & Redbridge two weeks ago.
- In the league, Orient have scored in each of their last four matches away from home.
- Meanwhile, at this stage last season Gillingham were held to a 2-2 with non-league Brackley Town before losing the replay 4-3.
- The Gills’ have not won at home since September 16th, a 1-0 league victory over Charlton Athletic.
- However, they have scored six goals in their previous four league games.
Both sides last encounter came on 6th April 2015 in an enthralling League One fixture that ended 3-3 at Brisbane Road.
Orient took the lead through a Lloyd James penalty, before falling 3-1 behind to Jermaine McGlashan’s goal and a Cody McDonald brace.
Darius Henderson pulled a goal back for the O’s on 67 minutes, before Josh Wright equalised five minutes from time to earn Orient a point.
Missing the Match?
Don’t worry if you can’t make the match this weekend. If you are on social media, you can follow live updates on the action as it happens from both clubs Twitter pages. (@leytonorientfc and @TheGillsFC)