With the Gills the first visitors at Dean Court of the new season, hopes were high that the Cherries could open their League Two account with three points, as it was the Gills who were the first side to loose at Dean Court last season - in mid-December!
The Cherries opened brightly enough, kicking towards the open end (minus a temporary stand) as Kuffour managed to get a half-hearted shot away in the opening stages. Sadly, the effort did nothing to trouble the Gills keeper in the 3rd minute.
The Cherries were certainly more dominant, but could not convert possession in to clear cut chances.
The first corner of the game went to the Cherries, but the effort was wasted as nothing came of the opportunity to put the Gills goal under any real pressure.
At the same time, Gillingham were not putting the Bournemouth goal under any pressure, even though they did create a couple of chances which were wide of the mark. Even when they were able to put pressure on the Cherries goal, debutant keeper, Jalal was more then capable of dealing with the danger - one moment of note came when Jackson was through, but he wasted the chance as Jalal saved with his feet.
Anderton wasted a guilt-edged opportunity, pushing the ball wide of the mark when it might have been easier to place the ball on target.
Bartley was showing that he was more than up for the League Two challenge as he was pushing forward, and chasing back, sometimes brilliantly winning the ball back from the Gills midfield. One such challenge back resulted in an uncompromising challenge back on Bartley, which resulted in a booking. Moments later McCammon, the Gills signing from Donny, spectacularly wrestled Bartley to the floor - cue a second booking for the visitors!
Cherries reward for their much better play in the first half came just before the break when Anderton was fed through, and in to space. With a powerful run forward, Anderton neatly slotted the ball home past the keeper and in off the far post. No more than the Cherries deserved at this stage.
The second half was a totally different affair as the Gills manager had clearly fired a rocket at his lacklustre players as our visitors were clearly up for the challenge as they battled back in search of an equaliser.
The Gills won a succession of corners right from the start of the half to put the Cherries under real pressure as the home side struggled to clear their lines and break in to opposition territory. For some inexplicable reason, the Cherries seemed content to sit back to try and soak up the pressure. The best form of defence is to attack. Whether the weather conditions played a part in the decision to hold back ..... who knows!
Kuffour wasted a couple of chances when he had more time and space to progress forward. Instead he elected to shoot from distance, which proved ineffective to say the very least.
The Gills gained a deserved equaliser in the final few seconds of normal time as Mulligan swept in a low ball from the right hand side over Jalal's head.
Such a shame that the Cherries could not hold on during the final few moments of the match.
As for individual performances .....
Jalal was assured in goal. A very competent debut performance.
Bradbury did well at right back - the position clearly suits him.
Guyett did well at the back
Garry - nice to see him back fit again. More to come from him I suspect.
Pearce - hardly put a foot wrong throughout the match.
Cooper was our play maker who the Gills could not contain in the first half, but did in the second.
Bartley was full of running throughout and was worthy of his starting birth in the side
Igoe didn't shine as he could have.
Anderton was assured in midfield and clearly up for the League Two challenge.
Kuffour didn't do too much wrong, but could have done much better with the two chances he wasted in the second half.
Pitman .......... needs to do better!
AFCB: Jalal, Guyett, Garry, Pearce, Bradbury, Cooper, Bartley, Igoe, Anderton, Kuffour, Pitman
Subs: Pryce, McQuoid (for Pitman, 83 mins), Pettefer, Cummings (for Igoe, 61 mins), Ward
Andy Burton, Portsmouth