After an immaculate minute silence, involving veterans and the local cadet force, it was the home side that made the first attempt on goal within seconds of the game starting. Crisp passing found former Shaker Sean Clare, who took a shot from distance from just outside the area, though despite the dive from Leo Fasan, the ball flew across the goal and out of play on the far side.
Moments later and an offside flag saw Greg Leigh’s move down the flank was halted and a free kick to the home side, Bury broke the dead ball down and came forward with Ajose finding Danns. He took two touches before shooting on target, but into the back of Ajose, who was instantly flagged offside again.
A 15th minute Bury corner from Jay O’Shea found the head of a rising Greg Leigh on the back post, his downwards header seemed to have struck a Gillingham defenders hand, though all appeals for a resulting penalty were quickly brushed aside by referee Charles Breakspear.
A Rohan Ince yellow card on 24 minutes presented the home side with the chance to drop the ball into the box from the Centre Circle, though the Gills failed to capitalise on the dead ball with Eaves being flagged offside as soon as he touched the ball.
Bury’s best chance came on 30 minutes. Crisp passing from the Shakers, as they had been showing all game, saw the Shakers coming forward down the flank. In a move started by Eoghan O’Connell, his ball found Leigh, a quick one-two interchange with O’Shea saw Leigh bursting into space. His first-time cross found Ajose, who whilst jumping for the ball, wrapped his foot around the ball and sent his volley inches wide of the target.
Moments later, and again after some crisp passing from the Shakers, Jay O’Shea slipped the ball to Michael Smith just inside the box, his first time shot on goal looked set for the bottom corner of the Gillingham goal, but as happened previously in the game, his shot struck the back of Ajose, who was again immediately flagged offside.
Bury took the lead on 39 minutes, Michael Smith played a sublime ball through to Eoghan O’Connell. His first touch picked out Neil Danns, who having made the run inside of the Gillingham defender, fired the ball across the keeper and into the opposite corner of the goal for a deserved Bury goal.
Gillingham suddenly came into the game three minutes with Lee Martin running the ball across the Bury defence before firing a crisp shot at goal from the edge of the box, though thankfully straight down Leo Fasans throat, which he held superbly.
Michael Smith should have doubled the Shakers lead just before the break. Neil Danns broke forward with the ball to find Smith, his quick pass found an overlapping Jay O’Shea. He took one touch and floated the ball at Smith on the edge of the six-yard box who struck the ball firmly inches wide of the post.
Bury had a good chance to double their lead some ten minutes into the second half. A flying counter attack started by bursting run from Greg Leigh saw Rohan Ince collect the ball wide, his second touch found Ajose on the edge of the box. He took a touch before shooting at goal, but his effort flew inches over the bar.
Leo Fasan was called into action on 68 minutes when a deep cross into the Bury box found the head of former Shaker Tom Eaves rose above Phil Edwards to head the ball into the box, with Scott Parker ready to pounce, Leo Fasan suddenly appeared over the top and got a good strong touch to punch the ball clear of danger.
Substitute Andy Tutte was the next player that should have doubled their lead, with determined play from the loveable Liverpudlian on 80 minutes saw him claim the ball on the edge of the box before turning and shooting on goal. Keeper Tomas Holy was beaten and the 141 travelling Shakers stood rooted to the spot as the ball crashed back into play off the post.
Moments later and Fasan was called into action again, this time Sean Clare with a long-range effort on goal. Fasan managed to palm the ball into the air from the edge of the six-yard box to deny the home side.
Keeper Tomas Holy denied Nicky Ajose with five minutes remaining, a Bury counter attack started with Smith sweeping the ball wide to O’Shea. His ball forward found Ajose who ran at goal and drove a stern shot at goal from an acute angle. Holy got a fingertip to the ball and pushed it over the bar.
Gillingham grabbed an equaliser on 85 minutes when a corner was delivered into the box to find Josh Parker. He simply rose above the Bury defence and headed the ball into goal from close range. Another lesson for the Shakers defence in concentration for the full 90 minutes.
Ryan Lowe's run as caretaker manager continues unbeaten and all focus now shifts to Tuesday's Emirates FA Cup 1st Round Replay with Woking at the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane.
Bury: Leo Fasan, Greg Leigh, Eoghan O'Connell, Nicky Ajose, Jordan Williams, Phil Edwards, Tom Aldred, Jay O'Shea (Reilly 88), Michal Smith, Rohan Ince, Neil Danns (Tutte 69)
Substitutes: Andrew Tutte, Chris Maguire, Callum Reilly, Chris Humphrey, Alex Whitmore, Chris Sang, Scott Maloney
Gillingham: Tomas Holy, Sean Clare, Luke O'Neill, Max Ehmer, Connor Ogilvie, Elliott List (Wilkinson 45), Jake Hessenthaler, Mark Byrne, Lee Martin (C), Tom Eaves, Josh Parker
Substitutes: Stuart Nelson, Aaron Simpson, Scott Wagstaff, Ben Chapman, Darren Oldaker, Greg Cundle, Conor Wilkinson
Referee: Charles Breakspea
Gate: 4,364 (141)