SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown revealed after Saturday’s narrow win against Torquay that match-winner Freddy Eastwood is often nicknamed the legend by his team-mates.

But the striker’s decisive effort against the Gulls at the weekend actually helped him secure even more of a spot in Shrimpers’ folklore as he moved up to fifth in the club’s list of all time goalscorers.

The close range finish, which secured a crucial three points for Phil Brown’s side, was Eastwood’s 77th for Blues and moved him clear of Billy Hick in the standings.

And the scale of that achievement is underlined by the fact that it is 44 years since someone last entered that top five.

Billy Best in 1970 was that man and, in years to come, Eastwood is also likely to be recalled at Roots Hall with similar fondness.

Much of that is down to his stunning first spell at the Shrimpers when his goals secured two successive promotions and the club’s most famous ever victory, against Manchester United in the League Cup.

These days, Eastwood is a different type of player and, without wanting to sound harsh, he is now far less of a threat than he used to be.

But whatever his sharpness, fitness or mobility he still maintains that predatory instinct which again saw him in the right place at the right time against Torquay.

The 30-year-old fired home from close range after good work from fellow substitute Jacob Murphy down the left hand side.

Eastwood will now be bidding for more first team action and will be battling for a spot in the Southend attack with Lee Barnard, Jamal Loza and Barry Corr, who is available again after completing a three match suspension, all vying for selection.

Such a headache will boost Blues during the remainder of the season but it is the excellent work being done at the other end of the field which is currently a major reason behind their return to form.

Loanee centre-backs John Egan and Jakub Sokolik have given the Shrimpers a solid base which was simply not there during the winless run of 13 matches which preceded the two recent victories.

An injury to the influential Luke Prosser had caused problems for Blues at the back.

But Egan and Sokolik have now managed four successive clean sheets and Southend are beginning to get themselves going again at just the right time.

The addition of Loza in attack has made a big difference as he has the pace that Blues were previously severely lacking in the final third.

The presence of the Norwich City youngster also frightens opposing defenders and gives the Shrimpers an excellent option in attack.

In truth, he was not at his best against Torquay but he still played a valuable part in the win which saw Southend move back up to sixth in the standings.

As a result, they are now right back in the race for the play-offs and securing a return to League One.

With Oxford, York and Plymouth only just behind it promises to be a tight and tense run in and Blues do face some tough fixtures during that time.

They face Rochdale, Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion in three of their last four games but Southend’s chances of success seem far stronger than they did just a week ago.

Six points out of six was just what was needed to breathe life back in to Blues’ season.

A rock solid defence also increases their chances and means that goals at the other end often bring maximum reward.

Eastwood was the latest to benefit at the weekend and he too could play a part in a promotion push to perhaps increase his legendary status at the club.