John McGreal happy with Colchester United’s win despite Saturday’s strange finish at Leyton Orient
- Credit: Archant
The U’s were on course for a comfortable victory when home fans invaded the Brisbane Road pitch to protest against their chairman Francesco Becchetti
Colchester United boss John McGreal admitted he was pleased as punch with their 3-1 win at Leyton Orient despite the drama surrounding the League Two match.
The game at Brisbane Road was delayed for nearly two hours after O’s fans invaded the pitch to protest against chairman Francesco Becchetti.
Orient supporters left the stadium after an announcement confirmed the game had been ‘abandoned’ only for the final five minutes to be played in front of an empty venue.
Bizarrely, the final exchanges of the match saw O’s keep the ball and Colchester not try to win it back, but McGreal was satisfied with what he saw.
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He said: “We could have got a goal in the final five minutes, but again we could have lost goals, so it would have affected us in another way.
“I am quite happy. We came here from minute one to try and get three points and take our play-off chances into the last game.
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“We have been able to do that, we have been able to put a couple of goals in our favour and I am pleased as punch.”
McGreal did reveal that the decision to finish the game with what appeared a keep-ball session had been agreed between the players.
The U’s manager and his opposite number Omer Riza had discussed ending the match like they started it - with both teams pushing for the victory.
“We were in the office and we set it out that we were going to finish the game as we started it,” said McGreal. “But the players who have gone out on the pitch have obviously done that themselves and I was looking at the warm-ups and there were a lot of stiff, tired limbs out there.
“Both teams had gone for the victory (before the delay) because Orient didn’t just sit in, they tried to get a win, so what has happened at the end was down to the players.”
It was confirmed after Colchester’s victory that the English Football League came up with a solution to ensure the match was finished.
The U’s boss felt all parties involved at Brisbane Road came to a sensible decision to get the game completed after the fans protest.
He added: “To be fair to the referee and the officials they got the players off quickly and there was nothing untoward towards the players, it was just a demonstration.
“We had a chat with their manager and the referee and we had to try and wait for things to happen and calm down because we both wanted the game to finish. It was either finish it on the night or come back during the week to play around five minutes of football.
“We got our heads together with EFL and I think we came to a really sensible decision to clear the stadium, play it behind closed doors, which we would have had to do during the week anyway, and play the five minutes plus the added time that was left.”