By Luke Cawdell
Gillingham earned themselves an FA Cup first round replay after Danny Kedwell struck a last-gasp equaliser on Saturday.
The Gills looked dead and buried at 3-1 down but goals from Danny Jackman and Kedwell made the game level.
Gillingham found themselves behind on 20 minutes when Stephen Purches lashed in an effort that bounced in off the underside of the bar from 25 yards.
The chance came after Gillingham had scrambled a corner clear – a set-piece that came about after keeper Paulo Gazzaniga had blocked Marc Pugh’s effort from point-blank range.
Gazzaniga had stepped in for only his second Gillingham start after regular stopper Ross Flitney was ruled out with a knee injury. He was one of four changes for the Gills, with Garry Richards also missing through injury, while loan pair Jo Kuffour and Frank Nouble were not permitted to play in the cup by their parent clubs.
The Gills, who had started the game brightly, found themselves under increasing pressure after Purches had given the home side the lead. Striker Wes Thomas was keeping Gazzaniga busy in the goal but against the run of play Jack Payne restored parity with a stunner.
His only other Gillingham goal was a blockbuster earlier in the season against Barnet but his 37th minute equaliser was even better. From 35 yards he tried his luck and the ball sailed over the head of home keeper Darryl Flahavan.
Bournemouth’s impetus dissolved but on the stroke of half-time Thomas again tested Gazzaniga, this time with a half volley from the edge of the box, which the Gills keeper pushed away for a corner.
The hosts started the second half on the attack and were rewarded with a goal on 59 minutes when Gazzaniga dropped a free-kick and Stephane Zubar was on hand to smash the ball into the net.
A minute later Bournemouth made it 3-1 when the Gills’ defence were pulled apart and Scott Malone took full advantage.
Gillingham looked all-but finished but when Fish was chopped down on the edge of the box the visitors conjured up a training-ground routine. Flahavan fumbled Jackman’s shot which ended up in the back of the net with 20 minutes left.
Substitute Stefan Payne just missed a golden chance to make it 3-3 as Fish's cross was whipped in on a plate for the striker but he couldn't connect. Gazzaniga, at fault for the second goal, made a great sliding save to deny Thomas at the other end and the Argentine keeper also did well to save Malone’s close-range header.
The hosts should have had the game won but a Charlie Lee throw-in was flicked on by Lewis Montrose and Kedwell tucked away the loose ball. It means the two sides meet again at Priestfield next Tuesday.
Gillingham: Gazzaniga, Fish, Martin, Frampton, Lawrence, J Payne (Montrose 80mins), Jackman, Lee, Whelpdale (Oli 66mins), Rooney (S Payne 77mins), Kedwell. Subs not used: King, Rance, Essam.
Bournemouth: Flahavan, Cummings, Barrett, Thomas, Symes, Arter, Pugh, Malone, Francis, Purhces, Zubar. Subs not used: Jalal, Fletcher, Taylor, Molesley, Lindsey, Carmichael, Ward.
Picture: Ady Kerry
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