GILLINGHAM 1 SHREWSBURY 1 FT
Relegated Shrewsbury Town rounded off a disappointing season with a hard earned draw at sunny Priestfield when sub Shaun Miller headed in a late equaliser.
It looked as though the Gills would snatch the points when captain Adam Barrett headed in with 20 minutes to play. But Town kept going and when Joe Jacobson delivered a pin-point cross from the left, Sheffield United loanee Miller nodded in unmarked to give 199 hardy visiting fans something to cheer.
The goal, Miller's third since arriving at the club, prevented a fifth straight defeat and with Stevenage losing at Brentford, it meant Town avoided finishing bottom of League One, ending up in 23rd place.
Manager Mike Jackson made four changes from the team that lost to Peterborough last weekend. Joe Anyon came in for 'keeper Chris Weale, Jermaine Grandison slotted into centre-half with Dave Winfield making way. Jackson adopted a 4-3-3 formation with Luke Summerfield, Aaron Wildig and Ryan Woods drafted into midfield. Tom Bradshaw spearheaded the attack, with Jon Taylor and Joseph Mills either side. Promising young winger Josh Ginnelly made the Town bench for the first time with Miller and Paul Parry losing their place from the starting XI.
The first save of the game came on seven minutes though when Anyon beat away a well struck 25 yard free kick from left back Joe Martin, and no blue shirt was able to follow up for the home side.
Soon after, Town nearly found the opening goal themselves when Wildig sent an inviting ball forward for Bradshaw, but Stuart Nelson did well to block the effort.
Summerfield then angled a brilliant long range free kick towards goal which look destined for the bottom corner, but Nelson parried the ball away, with Connor Goldson, leaning back, blazing the rebound wastefully over from 10 yards.
Town were nearly undone a quarter of an hour in when a corner kick was headed four yards wide by big striker Bayo Akinfenwa.
The visitors were forced into a first change on 33 minutes when Joseph Mills appeared to be struggling with an injury and Welshman Parry was introduced to the action.
As the half progressed, the game lost any kind of attacking momentum but in the last minute of normal time, Gillingham snuffed out the home side's best chance. Goldson's slip inside the box allowed 17 goal top scorer Cody McDonald a shot on goal, but it hit Anyon's left hand post with the Shrewsbury 'keeper well beaten.
The second half was only six minutes old when Matt Fish came on for a first change for Gillingham, with the injured Leon Legge unable to continue after receiving treatment.
The home side looked brighter going forward in the early stages of the restart with McDonald's spectacular overhead kick easily saved by Anyon, and Akinfenwa headed narrowly over from a Gillingham corner.
Town's first sight of goal arrived shortly after when Wildig tried an ambitious volley from just outside the area which sailed narrowly over the top.
Paul Parry then blazed high and wide after cutting in from the left hand side - there were options in the middle, but the Welshman went for the individual effort which was well off target.
The Gills made a double change on the hour mark when Danny Kedwell was brought on for Akinfenwa, with McDonald also making way for debutant Aaron Millbank.
The match remained fairly lacklustre but was nearly ignited by a long range shot from left-back Michael Harriman but he couldn't keep his effort down and it was no trouble for Anyon in goal.
The Gills still looked more likely to score and with twenty minutes remaining, they did. First Bradley Dack's dipping effort brought a fine save from Anyon and from the resulting corner Kedwell saw his effort cleared off the line by Summerfield. But the ball came back into the box and defender and captain Barrett headed in past a helpless Anyon.
Town brought on Miller with 15 minutes to go play, to try to pep up their attacking options - Wildig was brought off.
Parry then wasted a great chance to at least bring a save from Nelson, after Dominic Iorfa's right wing cross found the the experienced campaigner unmarked from 15 yards - but he sent his shot high over the bar.
At the other end, the home side nearly doubled their advantage but the fingertips of Anyon kept out a stinging drive from Chris Whelpdale.
A third and final change arrived when Ryan Woods was substituted by Jackson, with Tom Eaves introduced with five minutes to play.
The change was soon followed by Town's well worked equaliser, scored right in front of the away fans, some of whom came in fancy dress.
Neither side could grab a late winner and the game finished all square. A huge summer of change awaits at the Greenhous Meadow as Town prepare to embark on next season's League Two campaign.
SHREWSBURY: Joe Anyon, Dominic Iorfa, Connor Goldson, Jermaine Grandison, Joe Jacobson (c), Aaron Wildig (Shaun Miller 75), Luke Summerfield, Ryan Ryan Woods, Jon Taylor, Tom Bradshaw, Joseph Mills (Paul Parry 34)
Subs: Chris Weale, Dave Winfield, Tom Eaves, Asa Hall, Josh Ginelly
GILLINGHAM: Stuart Nelson, Michael Harriman, Leon Legge (Matt Fish 53), Adam Barrett (c), Joe Martin, Bradley Dack, Jake Hessenthaler, Steven Gregory, Chris Whelpdale, Cody McDonald (Danny Kedwell 61), Bayo Akinfenwa (Aaron Millbank 61)
Subs not used: Amine Linganzi, Charlie Lee, Craig Fagan, Sam Baxter
REF: Darren Drysdale
BOOKING: Legge (foul)
ATT: 7, 634 (199 Shrewsbury fans)