SOUTHEND United’s stuttering home form continued with a disappointing 1-1 draw against struggling Torquay United this afternoon.

Freddy Eastwood fired Blues in front with a well taken strike but Joss Labadie equalised on the stroke of half-time.

And that made it six matches without a win for Paul Sturrock’s side at Roots Hall.

The Gulls created the first chance of the game after just two minutes when striker Rene Howe sent a 20 yard shot wide of the left post but Blues soon hit back with Kevan Hurst having a shot from Ben Reeves’ right wing cross diverted wide of the target by Gulls defender Brian Saah.

Bilel Mohsni headed the resulting Hurst corner wide of the right post but Southend did not have long to wait until taking the lead, with Eastwood breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute of the match.

The recalled striker collected a cross-field pass from Reeves before cutting in off the right flank and firing a fantastic low, left footed shot from 20 yards in to the bottom left hand corner of the North Bank net.

The strike handed Eastwood his first goal since November but the Gulls almost drew back level in the 27th minute when a well struck 25 yard shot from Jordan Chapell was impressively tipped over the crossbar by Daniel Bentley who was preferred in the Blues goal to Paul Smith.

Bentley then did well to parry away a well struck shot from Lee Mansell but there was nothing the young shot-stopper could do on the stroke of half-time when Jordan Chapell drilled a low, right wing pass across the face of goal which enabled Labadie to tap home from six yards.

The second period started in scrappy fashion before Blues wasted a good chance to go back in front in the 63rd minute when Reeves played in Assombalonga but the on loan Watford striker could only slice his shot wide of the left post.

Moments later, Eastwood curled a 20 yard shot wide of the opposite upright but the striker made way for the fit again Gavin Tomlin in the 74th minute of the match.

And Tomlin almost made an immediate impact when he cut in off the left flank and teed up Reeves who had a low shot blocked the legs of Torquay goalkeeper Michael Poke.

The Gulls shot stopper then also kept out a low effort from Hurst with his feet to ensure his side picked up a precious point in their fight against relegation.