Danny Kedwell struck from the spot to rescue a point for Gillingham.
The Gills trailed at the break against Port Vale to a Marc Richards goal, but levelled just after the hour with a converted penalty from Kedwell.
Gillingham had numerous chances in the League 2 match, but their failure to finish left them sharing the points with Vale.
Andy Hessenthaler tinkered with his formation as he gave Luke Rooney a free role behind a front three of Jo Kuffour, Frank Nouble and Kedwell.
The system caused visitors Port Vale a number of problems but, by the interval, the Gills were a goal behind courtesy of a 33rd minute goal from Marc Richards.
The goal ended a promising start from the home side, with the tide turning after Tom Pope struck the bar with a header, just before the half-hour. It was Pope's cross seven minutes later that Richards tucked away.
Towards the end of the first half the Gills again dominated and Rooney came close on a couple of occasions, the closest being a deflected shot that flashed narrowly wide after he had burst into the box.
Nouble also flashed a volley wide, three minutes before the break, but Port Vale held their led as the teams went inside at the interval.
The visitors had the best early effort after the turnaround when Doug Loft smashed a shot that was deflected narrowly wide.
Gillingham got a grip of the game again, but lost influential midfielder Charlie Lee to injury.
Chances continued for Hessenthaler's men, with Kedwell heading over, but the Gills striker finally found the net on 62 minutes, for his fifth goal of the season, after tucking away a twice-taken penalty.
The referee pointed to the spot after Nouble was felled by Robert Taylor. Kedwell's initial effort was saved by keeper Stuart Tomlinson, but was retaken as the linesman judged that the Vale man had moved off his line.
Vale came back at the Gills but Nouble's trickery gave Hessenthaler's men the outlet they needed and he fired wide with 20 minutes left after linking up well with Kedwell.
At the other end Ross Flitney needed to make a save low down to deny Pope from distance. It was clear neither side were content with the point, but the match went into the final few minutes still all-square.
Matt Fish saw his cross-shot saved well by Tomlinson with five minutes to go, Chris Whelpdale looped a header over the bar and Kedwell scuffed a shot into the keeper's arms.
Gillingham continued to press until the final whistle, but the winner failed to materialise.
Gills: Flitney, Fish, Martin, Richards, Lawrence, Lee (Whelpdale 55mins), Weston, Rooney (Oli 84mins), Nouble, Kedwell, Kuffour (S Payne 76mins). Subs: Davies, Gazzaniga.
Vale: Tomlinson, Yates, Taylor, Griffiths, Owen, Loft (Dodds 87mins), Williamson (Morsy 58mins), McDonald, Chilvers, Pope (Rigg 82mins), Richards. Subs: Martin, McCombe.
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