Colchester United’s George Elokobi believes officials made the ‘right call’ in Leyton Orient clash
- Credit: Archant
George Elokobi and his Colchester United team-mates came through Saturday’s surreal, elongated match with flying colours at doomed Leyton Orient.
A League Two match that kicked off at 3pm was finally finished nearly four hours later, just before 7pm, following a two-hour delay for a pitch invasion at Brisbane Road.
Passions were running high in this corner of East London, with O’s supporters incensed at the dramatic decline of their club since Italian businessman, Francesco Becchetti, became the new owner in the summer of 2014.
The O’s relegation out of the Football League had been confirmed the previous weekend, and with the U’s 3-1 up and with just six minutes of normal time remaining, home fans invaded the pitch.
Elokobi and the rest of the players left the pitch, and had to try and keep focused until the match was finally restarted – after fans had dispersed and left the stadium believing that the fixture had been abandoned, following an announcement over the Tannoy.
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The teams reappeared to play out the final few minutes in a near-empty stadium, although Leyton Orient’s players merely passed the ball between themselves, with the U’s not trying to contest possession.
“I had never experienced anything quite this bad,” explained experienced U’s defender Elokobi.
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“We heard a few rumours throughout the week, but we just had to focus on our job today, regardless of what Leyton Orient are going through with their fans and their club and their chairman.
“We had to put in a professional performance, and I think everyone was fantastic to make sure that we got the three points, and then who knows? We want to finish the season on a high, and it now goes to the last game of the season.
“There were a few jokes going around the changing room – but we were ready to start again. We were stretching and we were walking around.
“Everyone was making sure that they kept themselves warm, and were not getting side-tracked by what was going on, on the pitch. Thankfully, the officials made the right call to finish the game off, and so we don’t have to come back here and replay the match.
“To be honest, I wasn’t happy with what happened in those last few minutes, but they decided to just keep the ball. We couldn’t get the ball off them, and so it must be a record passing game for them!
“But at the same time we were still switched on, to a man, to make sure nothing went in behind us.
“They (Leyton Orient) made their decision, and no one wants to get injured at this stage of the season with an important game coming up.”