FREDDY Eastwood’s first goal since October fired Southend United to a 1-0 win against bottom of the table Torquay at Roots Hall this afternoon.

The front man bagged the only goal of the game just seven minutes after coming off the bench.

And the match winning effort was also enough to push the Shrimpers back in to the play-off positions.

Up until then it had been a frustrating afternoon for Blues but, with 20 minutes on the clock, they wasted a great chance to open the scoring when a short Kevan Hurst corner was flicked on at the near post by Ryan Leonard, only for Jakub Sokolik to somehow volley over an open goal from six yards.

Moments later, a well struck 25 yard volley from John White flew just inches over the crossbar and, in the 40th minute, Lee Barnard’s close range flick landed on the roof of the North Bank net.

At the start of the second period, Torquay striker Jayden Stockley curled a 25 yard free-kick inches over the North Bank net before Blues began to get back on top.

Sokolik had a close range effort ruled out for offside before deflected shot from Barnard flew inches wide of the left post.

White then headed a left wing corner from Hurst against the top of the crossbar and, with Southend continuing to attack, a well struck shot from Barnard soon flew just wide of the right post.

In an attempt to make the breakthrough, Blues boss Phil Brown made two substitutions in quick succession with new boy Jacob Murphy coming on for Michael Timlin and Freddy Eastwood replacing Barnard in attack.

And, with 72 minutes on the clock, Eastwood popped up to fire the Shrimpers in front.

The striker reacted sharply after Murphy’s left wing cross was deflected in to his path and fired the ball in to the roof of the net from six yards.

Shortly after the strike, Marc Laird came on to replace Jamal Loza and he was able to help Blues hang on to secure a second successive victory.