Gerks holds firm as Town stretch unbeaten away run to eight
The ‘keeper saved brilliantly from Lewis Grabban and Ryan Fraser to earn Blues a share of the spoils on the south coast.
Daryl Murphy’s seventh goal of the season from Frank Nouble’s cross had given Town the lead on the hour but Brett Pitman levelled the scores on 73 minutes and the Cherries finished the stronger but Gerks and the Town defence held firm.
No changes to the Town side that got the festive programme underway in such impressive style with victory at Doncaster on Boxing Day as Blues made a first ever visit in the Championship to the Goldsands Stadium.
David McGoldrick, who grabbed a brace at the Keepmoat, was immediately in the action, weaving his way into the box from Luke Chambers’ crossfield pass, Elliott Ward clearing the danger.
Aaron Cresswell’s free-kick almost found Murphy as Town started on the front foot, the full-back then forcing a succession of early corners as Blues camped around the home goal in the opening 10 minutes.
Andrew Surman sent a 30 yarder over the bar as Bournemouth grew into the game though and the home side went close soon after when Lewis Grabban’s excellent cross was met by Ryan Fraser but Chambers did well to deflect the effort wide.
Fraser had a great chance to put Bournemouth ahead on 22 minutes when he capitalised on a stray pass by Cresswell but he failed to trouble Gerken with his shot.
The ‘keeper was tested a minute later though when he tipped over Eunan O’Kane’s long range effort, then getting down low to save from Simon Francis’ shot from the resultant corner.
A good exchange of passes from Murphy and Cresswell saw the defender get in behind the home rearguard but Bournemouth smothered out the danger.
Gerken came to Town’s rescue with a brilliant point blank save to deny Grabban after Surman’s classy backheel had released him in the box.
Murphy sent an optimistic effort over, then Luke Hyam had a shot deflected wide for a corner as a first-half that Bournemouth edged came to an end.
Hyam got on the end of Murphy’s cross but couldn’t convert five minutes after the break while at the other end Grabban’s left foot effort was gathered comfortably by Gerken.
Matt Ritchie flashed a cross that was deflected wide for a corner as Eddie Howe’s side threatened an opener but it was Blues who provided it, Nouble’s superb cross finished by Murphy at the far post on the hour.
The Republic of Ireland international had a chance to add a second a minute after Ryan Tunnicliffe set him up but he fired just wide.
Gerken had to be alert to keep out Fraser’s strike, his counterpart, Lee Camp in the Bournemouth goal, holding firm to deal with Tunnicliffe’s deflected effort.
The Cherries levelled on 73 minutes, Pitman, on as a substitute, blasted the ball into the net after Gerken had saved superbly from Grabban.
David McGoldrick couldn’t find the target as Town looked to strike back immediately, Mick McCarthy then introducing Paul Taylor for Nouble for the last 15 minutes.
Bournemouth had the ball in the net but referee Philip Gibbs awarded a free-kick for a foul on Gerken from Tommy Elphick’s cross.
Gerken gathered low down from Surman’s strike, with Town making a second change with McGoldrick making way for Tyrone Mings for the last three minutes as Blues held on for a point to stretch the unbeaten away record to eight games and finish the year in sixth place in the Championship table.