Trophy run im­por­tant for Tay­lor and Gills

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Gary Vincent

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

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