Leyton Orient fans stage sit-down protest on the pitch during abandoned match against Colchester

Mark Critchley

Leyton Orient's final home game of the season was abandoned and then finished behind closed doors after supporters invaded the pitch and staged a sit-down protest against the ownership of Francesco Becchetti.

Play was suspended in the 85th minute of Orient's League Two encounter with Colchester United, with the score at 3-1 to the visitors, after several hundred fans took to the pitch chanting "Becchetti out!" and “Sit down for the Orient!”

The supporters stayed on the pitch for over an hour, despite manager Omer Riza pleading with them to end their protest over Brisbane Road's PA system and eventually it was announced that the game had been called off.

However, once the pitch had been cleared, grounds staff emerged to clear the pitch and re-plant the corner flags. The game was eventually resumed and finished behind closed doors, ending 3-1 to Colchester.

Orient's 112-year stay in the Football League ended last weekend after a 3-0 defeat against Crewe Alexandra confirmed their relegation to the National League.

​The east Londoners were the subject of a winding-up petition brought by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs earlier this year over unpaid taxes.

The club narrowly staved off an immediate threat of extinction last month after settling debts with HMRC, though its long-term future remains in doubt.

Becchetti has been given until 12 June to pay off debts to his remaining creditors or sell the club.

Orient staff only received their wages for March on Monday, almost four weeks after they expected to be paid.

The English Football League released a statement claiming to be "exceptionally concerned" about the club's predicament.

The statement read: "While Leyton Orient may have been relegated to the National League, the EFL will continue to do everything it can to ensure that the future of the club is secured."

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes