Torquay stayed in the npower League Two promotion places following a goalless draw with Southend, but Gulls manager Martin Ling is still looking over his shoulder.

Recalled forward Ryan Jarvis came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Gulls, heading onto the post in the 30th minute. Southend replied with midfielder Ryan Hall bouncing a 25-yard free-kick off the bar four minutes later.

Ling said: "It was a hard-fought point. I thought that we dug in there and never really tested their keeper. I think Shrewsbury have gone second and we are third, and although it was a draw this result keeps us moving forward. If you look at how we played at Southend in October and how we played today, they are two different performances. We are now a very good team."

He went on: "It was a battling draw and I suppose the pleasing thing is the clean sheet that takes us to 20 now - and produces a new club record for the team.

"I think if you are building success then that will be built on clean sheets.

"I thought for the last 10 to 15 minutes, even though we are a good footballing side, I feel we should take those principles away.

"I feel we were looking for the killer ball maybe too much instead of just putting balls into the area, when it is wet and windy and not nice conditions.

"There is a little bit of criticism there from me but you cannot criticise their effort and work rate, because that was there again. There is a dotted line and we are just above it at the moment, as everybody knows."

Paul Sturrock's fifth-placed Shrimpers - who play Barnet at home on Friday - remain six points behind Torquay with three games remaining.

The Scot admitted: "We are disappointed we did not get the three points. It has probably cost us our automatic promotion chance but Torquay are a good, organised side and have done very well to get into the position they are in."