Seven-up Tam makes Orient's point
Gillingham 1 Leyton Orient 1 ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire fired home his seventh goal of the season to earn his side a vital point at Gillingham on Tuesday night, writes Trevor Davies. The unlikely goal hero popped up 18 minutes from time to cancel
Gillingham 1 Leyton Orient 1
ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire fired home his seventh goal of the season to earn his side a vital point at Gillingham on Tuesday night, writes Trevor Davies.
The unlikely goal hero popped up 18 minutes from time to cancel out Chris Dickson's early opener for the home side.
Following Saturday's setback at Tranmere, the O's were desperate to take something from the clash against struggling Gillingham to avoid being sucked back into trouble and the draw keeps Orient five points away from the relegation zone, in 15th position.
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O's boss Geraint Williams made two changes to the side that had lost at Prenton Park, as new loan signing Aaron Doran made his league debut on the right hand side of midfield, with Jimmy Smith moving into the centre in place of Sean Thornton, while Jonathan Tehoue was given his first start up front in place of Scott McGleish.
Williams, who was disappointed with his side's showing on Saturday, demanded a brighter start from his side, who had conceded two goals before the break in each of the last two away games.
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But it was Gillingham who were quick out of the blocks and Rene Howe slid a shot across the Orient goal after just three minutes.
However, it did not take the home side long to make the breakthrough. O's keeper Jamie Jones could not hold a fierce shot from Simeon Jackson and Dickson forced home the rebound from close range.
As the home side continued to make the early running, Danny Jackman curled a free-kick just wide as they went in search of a second.
Jackson and Dickson were causing problems for the visitors and nine minutes before the interval the duo combined to almost add a second.
Jackson's drive deflected off Dickson, but the ball flew straight into the arms of the relieved Orient keeper.
The dangerous Jackson then frittered away a chance when he latched on to a through ball from Danny Jackman, but sent his effort over the bar.
Just before the break O's went close to a leveller, when Charlie Daniels fired in a free-kick, but the effort flew just wide.
After the interval Gills veteran midfielder Kevin Maher set up Adam Miller following a free-kick, but his fierce drive was well saved by Jones.
Orient slowly started to turn their possession into chances and debutant Doran went close with a curling effort eight minutes after the break after Daniels played the ball into him.
Although O's looked more of an attacking force, it was Gillingham who almost grabbed a second just after the hour.
The evergreen Maher played in the perfect corner but Jones pulled off an excellent reaction save from close range as Garry Richards looked certain to score.
Orient's reward for a better second half showing came on 72 minutes when the home side failed to clear a free-kick from Daniels and the ball fell invitingly for Mkandawire who fired home left-footed from the edge of the area.
At the other end Richards went close to restoring the home side's advantage, but O's looked as if they might nick the win in the closing stages.
And they might have taken maximum points when substitute James Scowcroft headed down and Ryan Jarvis fired over the bar.
Orient: Jones, Purches, Mkandawire, Chorley, Daniels; Doran (Scowcroft 83), Chambers (Thornton 68 mins), Smith, Demetriou; Jarvis, Tehoue (McGleish 68). Subs: Morris, Ashworth, Cave-Brown, Pires.