Match abandoned at Leyton Orient due to a pitch invasion with Colchester United 3-1 up
- Credit: Archant
Leyton Orient 1 Colchester United 3
Colchester United’s League Two match at Leyton Orient this afternoon was abandoned following a pitch invasion, after 84 minutes, with the U’s 3-1 up.
John McGreal’s men were well on course for victory, with six minutes remaining, and heading for their first away win of 2017.
But O’s fans, angry at their club’s relegation out of the Football League, then invaded the pitch in their hundreds, protesting against owner Francesco Becchetti.
And there they remained, despite repeated pleas for them to return to the main-stand, including a plea from manager Omer Riza.
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The U’s really needed to beat the already-relegated O’s, to stand a realistic chance of gate-crashing the top seven on the final weekend of the season, at home to Yeovil next Saturday.
Tarique Fosu’s superb header, on 26 minutes, seemed to put the U’s on course for a comfortable victory.
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But Sandro Semedo’s long-range thunderbolt, in the 52nd minute, stunned the visitors and looked to have earned an unlikely point for the East London club.
However, late goals from Chris Porter and Macauley Bonne turned the game the U’s way, and have surely given a much-needed boost to those play-off hopes.
For the opening goal, Tom Eastman swung over a teasing cross from the right flank and Fosu steamed in to send a powerful header soaring into the back of the net, from six yards out.
The U’s were good value for their half-time lead, but they were stunned by Semedo’s spectacular equaliser in the 52nd minute.
The midfielder’s speculative 30-yarder dipped over a helpless Sam Walker and flew into the net.
But the U’s regained their lead in the 77th minute. Fosu benefited from a terrible error by Jens Janse, and he sped through to square for an unmarked Porter to slot home his 16th goal of the season.
Three minutes later and substitute Bonne turned to fire a low drive into the far corner of the net.
But then came the pitch invasion, with both sets of players leaving the playing stage.
If the result stands – which it will surely will – then the U’s will be just one point off the play-offs, with one match remaining.
The U’s were forced into two changes from last Saturday’s goalless home draw against Plymouth.
Both left wing-back Brennan Dickenson (knee) and centre-half Cameron James (hamstring) picked up injuries in training, and were replaced by Matt Briggs and Alex Wynter. Dickenson’s injury is believed to be a serious one.
The unlikely combination of George Elokobi and Tom Eastman combined to set up the U’s first chance, on five minutes.
Eastman controlled fellow centre-half Elokobi’s deep delivery into the box and cut inside before hooking in a shot which was deflected wide for a corner off Tristan Abrahams.
Elokobi’s looping header, from the ensuing corner, was safely gathered by keeper Sam Sargeant in front of his near post.
The O’s showed little until Tristan Abrahams dragged a low shot wide of target in the 20th minute, with Sam Walker untroubled.
Five minutes later and Richard Brindley curled a free-kick narrowly over the bar with Sargeant on tip-toes.
But the U’s were ahead, just seconds later, thanks to Fosu’s brave header from Eastman’s excellent cross.
The visitors tried to bag a quickfire second, to potentially kill off their opponents, and left wing-back Briggs so nearly got on the end of a cross by Drey Wright, before Sean Murray then dragged a shot narrowly wide from outside the box.
The O’s tried to respond, and Abrahams was not far adrift with a 25-yarder that soared only a foot over the bar in the 35th minute.
Just before half-time, Walker did well to parry a goal-bound effort by leading scorer Paul McCallum, and then smother the loose ball.
The U’s started the second period on the front foot and keeper Sargeant flapped away a dangerous cross by Fosu, after the ball had fizzed over the head of Wright.
But the O’s equalised, completely out of the blue, thanks to Semedo’s spectacular 30-yarder on 52 minutes.
The visitors had a good chance to regain their lead, just five minutes later, but Chris Porter ballooned his header over the bar from Briggs’ pinpoint cross.
Just after the hour mark, Fosu weaved his way into the O’s box on a mazy run, but his final shot let him down and Sargeant gathered with ease.
The U’s had strong appeals for a penalty in the 69th minute, when Wright appeared to be bundled over in the box, in between two defenders, but referee Carl Boyeson was not convinced.
Late goals by Porter and Bonne did put the U’s 3-1 up and on the brink of victory, until a pitch invasion with six minutes remaining brought a premature end to the match.
LEYTON ORIENT: Sargeant, Clark, Pollock, Parkes, Janse, Collins, Alzate, Kennedy, McCallum (sub Adeboyejo, 65), Semedo, Abrahams. Unused subs: Janata, Nnomo, Mezague, Moncur, Koroma, Ochieng.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Wynter, Elokobi, Brindley, Lapslie, Murray (sub Loft, 78), Briggs (sub Bonne, 68), Fosu, Wright, Porter. Unused subs: Brill, Vincent-Young, Pyke, O’Sullivan, Kinsella.
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 6,854 (1,257 away fans)