Gills suffer narrow defeat in opening round of U21 Cup at PriestfieldGoals from Sam Surridge and Ben Whitfield either side of half time were enough to seal a 2-1 win for Bournemouth and knock Gillingham out of the U21 Premier League Cup in the opening round on Wednesday.
At a wet and windy Priestfield Stadium the visitors made the most of their chances, with Gillingham setting up a tense finish with Ben Williamson finding the net on 76 minutes.
Darren Hare was managing the side and named a strong XI for the game with Bradley Garmston, Emmanuel Osadebe, Aaron Morris, Rory Donnelly and Williamson all included.
Glenn Morris got his chance to impress in goal with Darren Oldaker lining up in midfield.
The visitors enjoyed most of the early possession, however it took 10 minutes before either side had an effort on goal.
Sam Matthews found himself with a couple of yards of space to run into, he decided to shoot from 20 yards but drilled his left footed effort wide of the target.
Both teams then had efforts well blocked; Thompson denying Tomas Andade before Greg Cundle’s effort from 18 yards came off the chest of Jake McCarthy.
Both goalkeepers were then required in quick succession, firstly Glenn Morris make two decent stops to deny Costa and Whitfield before Jordan Holmes was well placed to catch Osadebe’s 25-yard shot.
On 34 minutes Bournemouth finally made their possession pay with the opening goal, Costa played an excellent ball through to Surridge and Morris quickly came out to narrow the gap.
However the striker waited for the right moment and guided the ball beyond the advancing keeper.
Gills responded well however they could only create one chance before the break, Oldaker sending an effort from 25 yards wide of the right hand post.
Bournemouth didn’t take to grab a second goal, Surridge played an excellent through ball to Whitfield and the striker evaded a challenge from Dickenson before clinically slotting the ball beyond Morris.
Gillingham nearly pulled one back straight away, first a header from Dickenson missed the target before Jordan Holmes made an excellent one handed save to deny Williamson at the near post.
The hosts sent bodies forward as they looked for a way back into the game but on occasions found themselves exposed at the back. Whitfield striking a couple of efforts wide before Surridge guided a header just beyond the far post.
However Gills did get their goal on 76 minutes, Garmston cut out a pass in the centre of the pitch and sprinted towards the byline where he spotted Williamson in space on the right hand side of the box.
The striker took a good first touch and then slotted past Holmes to set up a tense final 15 minutes.
Bournemouth began to defend a touch deeper, allowing the likes of Garmston to get forward. And it was his corner on 84 minutes which was only half cleared, Thompson eventually made space for a shot but sent it over the bar.
Gills had a couple of corner kicks late on but the visiting defence held out to claim victory.
Gills: G Morris, Emptage, M Dickenson, Thompson, Garmston, Oldaker, A Morris (Stevenson 64), Osadebe, Cundle (Stannard 79), Donnelly, Williamson
Unused subs: Newcombe, Stewart, O’Mara
Bournemouth: Holmes, Lee, Costa, Cannataro, McCarthy, Buckley, Matthews, Butcher, Surridge, Andade (Worthington 80), Whitfield
Unused subs: Stanton, Mulemba, Green
Referee: Mr J Horne