Bournemouth 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

Bournemouth defender Matthew Mills enjoyed an afternoon of mixed fortunes as both sides were forced to settle for a point following a 1-1 draw in their promotion battle with Tranmere at Dean Court.

Mills was making only his second appearance since joining Bournemouth on a month loan from Southampton in midweek, and played a major role in the visitors taking the lead in the 22nd minute.

Goalkeeper Neil Moss appeared to have Paul Hall's weakly hit left foot shot easily covered, before the ball diverted off Mills' right leg and nestled into the back of Bournemouth's goal.

But the centre-back atoned for his error two minutes before the half time interval as he out-jumped Tranmere goalkeeper John Achterberg to head Wade Elliott's cross from the right into an unguarded goal.

Bournemouth boss Sean O'Driscoll had sprung a surprise in the build up to the game, leaving out 17-goal leading scorer James Hayter in favour of restoring former Welsh international Marcus Browning to his midfield, and his decision looked to give Tranmere added impetus in the opening stages.

The visitors took the game to the home side, who had not lost at Dean Court since the end of October, and defender Michael Jackson should have done better when he headed wide following a free kick from Jason McAteer on 16 minutes.

Elliott forced a decent save out of Achterberg two minutes later, but it was no surprise when Tranmere took the lead much to the dismay of the majority of the 7,305 crowd.

The goal seemed to sting Bournemouth in to some much-needed action and, after Mills had sent a first effort wide of the left hand upright, Gareth O'Connor forced a good save out of Achterberg in the 38th minute, as the goalkeeper leapt at full stretch to tip his 25-yard shot over the bar.

Bournemouth and Mills were not to be denied, though, as they equalised five minutes later, but Tranmere striker Chris Dagnall wasted a golden chance to restore the visitors lead on the stroke of half time.

Tranmere's leading scorer Iain Hume played a precision pass leaving Dagnall with just Moss to beat, but he pulled his low shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Both sides struggled to create any clear cut chances after the interval, and not even the 78th minute introduction of Hayter could produce a late winner for Bournemouth as the two teams shared the points.