BENIK Afobe’s second-half strike thwarted his former employers Cherries as Scott Parker’s men recorded a 1-1 draw at Millwall.

Dominic Solanke’s 16th goal of the campaign had given the away side the advantage just before half-time at The Den.

But Afobe, who played 70 times for Cherries while the club was in the top flight scoring 11 goals, found a leveller to ensure the spoils were shared.

Cherries made two changes from the team which started Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Derby County.

Gavin Kilkenny and Jamal Lowe were recalled to Parker’s starting XI, with Lewis Cook dropped to the bench and the suspended Philip Billing ruled out.

Young defender Zeno Ibsen Rossi returned to the squad following injury. Former Cherries Afobe and Scott Malone started for Millwall.

And it was Afobe who almost had the first opening for the Lions with nine minutes on the clock.

He ran on to a through ball from Mason Bennett inside the Cherries’ box but was denied by a well-timed sliding challenge from Chris Mepham.

Millwall’s next opening came from a set-piece. Malone’s corner found the head of Murray Wallace, who powered the ball over the bar under pressure.

The game’s first caution then came for Kilkenny as he pulled back Danny McNamara to thwart a Millwall counter.

And the Republic of Ireland under-21 international was then involved in a talking point moments later. He went to ground inside the Millwall box with seemingly no contact from Bennett.

Referee Dean Whitestone did not issue the Dubliner a second caution as tempers flared between the sides.

Cherries had more of the ball in the opening 35 minutes but failed to spark into life.

Ryan Christie drove at the home defence but was thwarted by a well-timed challenge on the edge of the box. Solanke was then denied by a last-ditch tackle from McNamara.

But Cherries’ leading scorer for the campaign was not to be denied as he found the opener on 44 minutes.

After a Cherries corner was recycled by the visitors, Jack Stacey’s ball to the back post found the head of Solanke, whose initial effort was blocked before reacting quickest to convert.

Cherries almost had a second shortly after the interval. Christie charged at the visiting goal before seeing his tame effort gathered by Polish keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Visiting stand-in skipper Gary Cahill then found himself in the wars as he collided with Afobe just before the hour mark.

The former Arsenal man had raced in on goal but saw his effort from an acute angle blocked by Cahill, who was caught in the aftermath having made the challenge.

Parker then introduced Lewis Cook in place of Kilkenny just past the hour mark but it was Millwall who found a leveller on 67 minutes.

A long ball flicked on allowed Afobe to get beyond Cahill and apply a confident finish into the far corner beyond Mark Travers.

Buoyed by their equaliser, the Lions had their tails up. Billy Mitchell beat two men before firing over the bar from the edge of the box.

Parker then introduced Emiliano Marcondes in place of Lowe, before Lerma hacked away Afobe’s dangerous ball across goal with four minutes left.

Cherries: Travers, Stacey, Cahill, Mepham, Davis, Christie, Kilkenny (L Cook, 63), Lerma, Anthony (Rogers, 90+1), Solanke, Lowe (Marcondes, 78).

Unused subs: Ibsen Rossi, S Cook, Moriah-Welsh, Nyland (g/k).

Booked: Kilkenny, L Cook.

Millwall: Bialkowski, Ballard, Hutchinson, M Wallace, McNamara, Saville, Mitchell, Malone (Ojo, 66), J Wallace, Bennett (Bradshaw, 65), Afobe.

Unused subs: Kieftenbeld, Smith, Pearce, Evans, Long (g/k).

Booked: Mitchell.

Referee: Dean Whitestone.