TWO goals from Jonny Stuttle were not enough as Cherries were beaten 3-2 by Millwall and knocked off top spot in the Professional Development League.

Cherries led early on through Stuttle, but three goals in the space of five minutes either side of half-time took the game away from them.

Stuttle netted again to set up a grandstand finish at New Cuthbury, but it proved too little, too late.

With a host of regular starters unavailable, boss Alan Connell was forced into four changes from the 4-0 weekend win over Charlton Athletic.

Max Kinsey, Ben Winterburn and Finn Tonks were all injured, while leading marksman Daniel Adu-Adjei was left out, with a potential loan move in the offing.

That saw Connell have to delve into the lower age groups, with Jack Holman, Ashley Clarke and Stuttle coming in to start, as well as Jack Wadham.

Millwall, who climb up to third with this win, made a bright start, only denied an early opener through important interventions from Holman and then Ben Greenwood.

Against the run of play, Cherries took the lead.

A cross from the right found Noa Boutin, whose shot was well saved by goalkeeper Ethan Wady, but Stuttle was there to turn in the rebound for his first goal at under-21 level.

Cherries came close to a second midway through the half. After Dominic Sadi had been fouled, captain Greenwood’s free-kick was saved. The attack was kept alive, Sadi’s ball across goal parried into the path of Kian Tydeman, whose effort was cleared off the line.

Ashley Clarke then fired over after showing some good feet, before back came the Lions, with a sliding Greenwood block preserving the clean sheet.

Cameron Plain then held a header from Henry Hearn, but would be beaten by him soon after.

Shortly after the striker’s vociferous claims for a penalty were waved away, he found himself free at the back post to nod in, after Plain lost out aerially in a battle with Frankie Hvid.

Plain was caught out again less than two minutes into the second half. His pass out from the back was intercepted and while Greenwood did well to block the initial shot, Abdul Abdulmalik was on hand to slot in on the rebound.

In the 49th minute, the visitors moved 3-1 up, a corner met powerfully by the head of Hvid.

Cherries did not let their heads drop. Greenwood came close to pulling one back after a clever corner routine, while Sadi was doing his best to drive the team on, unable to convert with two shots in quick succession.

Millwall were a threat on the counter, Plain doing well to thwart Hearn, before Connell turned to his bench.

Baylin Johnson was introduced on the right wing and he quickly set up Tydeman, who did well to get his shot off, only to be denied by an excellent George Walker block on the line.

Hope was restored again five minutes from time when Stuttle was wiped out by goalkeeper Wady, who was duly given his marching orders.

Replacement George Evans was soon picking the ball out of his net, the resulting free-kick from Greenwood smashed into a defender, before Stuttle slammed the loose ball home.

Cherries pushed for an equaliser with the man advantage, but could not find the finishing touch with Lewis Brown, Johnson and Wadham all going close in stoppage time.

Cherries: Plain; Holman, Wadham, Greenwood, Boutin; Sadi, Brown; Clarke (Osborne, 81), Tydeman, Landa (Johnson, 66); Stuttle.

Unused subs: Morgan, William, Allan (g/k).