Leyton Orient 1-3 Colchester: Fan protests delay action
Last Updated: 02/05/17 2:04pm
Colchester beat relegated Leyton Orient 3-1 in bizarre circumstances, with the last five minutes played out in front of an empty stadium after an earlier announcement said the game had been abandoned.
United had been leading 3-1 when the Matchroom Stadium contest was suspended by referee Carl Boyeson after 85 minutes because of a crowd invasion involving approximately 750 people.
Orient fans staged a sit-down protest calling for owner Francesco Becchetti to quit the club, forcing the referee to bring the players off the field.
Leyton Orient manager Omar Riza made an announcement requesting fans to leave the pitch to no avail, and at 5.49pm - more than an hour after play had been halted - an announcement was made that the game had been abandoned.
That had the effect of eventually clearing the ground, and the tactic worked as the teams completed the final five minutes before empty stands some two hours after the game had been suspended.
Both teams then went through the motions, with Orient retaining possession of the ball for the five minutes plus the three additional minutes
Tarique Fosu, Chris Porter and Macauley Bonne had scored for the visitors whilst Sandro Semedo was on the mark for Orient.
Fosu was left unmarked after 26 minutes when he headed home a deep cross from the right from Tom Eastman.
The match was held up when a flare was thrown on to the pitch but play soon continued.
Semedo equalised after 52 minutes when he sent a 25-yard swerving shot into the top right-hand corner to level the scores.
Then a terrible blunder by Jens Janse left Porter with a simple close-range chance to tap home for the U's after 77 minutes before substitute Bonne drilled the ball into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Another flare, the second of the match was thrown on the pitch moments before Orient fans stormed the pitch to show their anger at Becchetti's ill-fated reign.
Fans also chanted against the English Football League for allowing Becchetti through their owners and directors test.
An EFL statement released as play resumed said: "The Sky Bet League Two fixture between Leyton Orient and Colchester United is being concluded behind closed doors.
The decision to play the match to a conclusion has been agreed with both managers and with the referees support. The Police and Stadium security staff were happy for the match to restart and this took place a few a moments ago.
"Despite requests for the fans to clear the pitch, there wasn't sufficient movement to allow the game to restart following a pitch invasion. A decision was taken with the Police to announce that the game had been abandoned, as it was felt this would help clear the pitch, which proved correct.
"However, it was felt that the game needs to be played to a conclusion in order to maintain the integrity of the competition and in respect of Colchester United's position of being able to qualify for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs."