SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown praised the result but not the performance after his side edged past struggling Torquay 1-0 at Roots Hall on Saturday.

A second half strike from substitute Freddy Eastwood ensured the Shrimpers beat the bottom of the table Gulls.

But Brown felt Blues were far from their best.

“We came up with the bronze service rather than the gold but we got the three points and that’s all that matters,” said the Southend boss.

“We seem to have got that bit of momentum going again which is crucial at this stage of the season and, for me, this was an even bigger win than the one against Oxford.

“The performance wasn’t as good but we can work on that and it’s just picking up points that matters now.

Blues’ impressive defensive record has enabled their return to winning ways.

And Brown was particularly pleased to see the Shrimpers secure a fourth successive clean sheet by shutting out Torquay.

“We’ve got young lads doing a man’s job back there and they’ve been brilliant,” said Brown.

“You would expect youngsters to drop the odd clanger but that isn’t the case at the moment.

“We have had 17 clean sheets and that helps give us a good goal difference which could prove crucial come the end of the season.”

At the other end of the field, Freddy Eastwood enhanced that goal difference and Blues’ points tally with the only goal of the game.

And his reward was a special embrace from Brown at the final whistle.

“I think I gave Freddy what was probably the biggest hug of his life at the end of the game,” said Brown.

“I was so happy to see him score because he’s been through the mill a bit lately.

“He started the season well with four goals in four games before a knee operation set him back.

“That took him longer to recover from than we expected but he’s been more involved lately and you would always back him to be in the right place at the right time.

“He’s a great impact substitute to have and it was great for him to get the goal.”