Trophy run important for Taylor and Gills
PETER Taylor has his sights firmly set on lifting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley next March after John Egan’s late winner helped Gillingham see off Leyton Orient in the Southern section semi-finals.
The Gills last enjoyed Wembley success in 2009 in the League Two playoffs but moved ever closer to a return to the Home of Football thanks to Egan’s 79th-minute header from a Michael Doughty corner.
Gillingham, who have won just once in 11 in the league, are the first team to have advanced to the area finals with their next opponents, either Bristol City and Coventry, facing off against each other in midweek.
And despite their trials and tribulations in League One, where they are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, Gills boss Taylor is adamant continuing their run in the competition will boost everyone at the club.
“The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has been important because we need to get a win out of anywhere, even if it was on the training pitch,” he said.
“It has enabled us to get some confidence back and we’ve been unbeaten for five matches and once you get this far you’ll want to go all the way and that’s what the boys have on their minds.
“The effort has never been in question and we work extremely hard as a team to defend at the right times and to attack at the right times. The quality wasn’t there enough, especially in the first half. You know you’re going to get a tough game next, it will be either Coventry or Bristol City, you’d love to get an away game on the first leg and finish off a good night at our place.”
Gillingham started on the back foot with Dave Mooney having the first real chance after 18 minutes but his header was straight at Stuart Nelson.
Nelson had to be alert from a deflected Shane Lowry free-kick moments later before the Australian beat the keeper with another setpiece but was this time denied by the bar.
Egan headed home the winner in the 79th minute before Bradley Pritchard missed an open goal with five minutes to go as he failed to latch onto Dean Cox’s cross.
“This week we worked on a lot of set-pieces because we thought that Gillingham would be dangerous, particularly with those types of chances and we had double training and everything,” Leyton Orient boss Mauro Milanese.
“But another corner killed us and that is happening too often.We were at the end of three setpieces in the league and another corner killed us in the cup and I think that’s too many. Every game we have different problems.”
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STAR MAN JOHN EGAN Gillingh