Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said he was devastated after an injury time goal from veteran striker Deon Burton robbed his side of a deserving point on Saturday.
Burton took advantage of Chris McCready’s 92nd minute slip to produce a quality finish which gave the Gills a victory to take them seven points clear at the top of League 2.
He said: “I was devastated to lose in the way we did and I don’t think we deserved it.
“We were a bit off the pace early on and I wasn’t happy with their goal but we always looked dangerous on the break and I thought we were the better side in the second half and had the better chances.
“Barry Roche didn’t really have a save to make in the second half and although they threw balls into our box and had a go at us we defended superbly and had a couple of chances ourselves to hit them on the break again. We took the game to them and their crowd were getting impatient and I could just see us sneaking one.
“But we made a slip at the end and when you have someone with the experience of Deon Burton you can’t afford to do that. They are top of the league for a reason but I am gutted for everyone because they are top of the league and we gave them a real game and showed once again what we are capable of but once again just fell the wrong side of the line and that is something we will continue to work on.’’
Gillingham were quickly out of the blocks and Roche had to palm Matt Fish’s long-range effort over the bar after just two minutes.
A number of corners and free-kicks for the hosts failed to open Morecambe up and as the half wore on the Shrimps grew in confidence.
Kevin Ellison volleyed an early chance over the bar while keeper Stuart Nelson averted a goal at his near post, after Izak Reid whipped the ball in for Richard Brodie, who was waiting to pounce.
Reid then had a golden chance to open the scoring after being played in by Andy Fleming but he fluffed his lines and gave Nelson an easy save.
At times it was end-to-end stuff at Priestfield but it was the Gills who broke the deadlock, when on 37 minutes Montrose stroked the ball home, after Roche could only punch Danny Jackman’s free-kick into his path.
The Shrimps looked the sharper of the two sides after the break and Gillingham had Nelson to thank again just past the hour when Reid played Gary McDonald through on goal but Gills’ number one produced a fine save.
The pressure paid off on 68 minutes when Ellison burst into the box to cross for substitute Jack Redshaw to side-foot home from close range.
Gillingham then hit back with Charlie Allen firing narrowly wide late on and Danny Kedwell heading past the post with Roche stranded but they finally broke the Shrimps’ resistance with Burton’s moment of quality.
Gillingham: Nelson; Fish, Davies, Barrett, Jackman; Whelpdale, Vincelot (rep Allen 63), Frampton (rep Burton 76), Montrose; Strevens (rep Weston 45), Kedwell. Subs not used: Essam, Lee, Birchall, Forecast.
Morecambe: Roche 7, Parrish 7, McCready 7, Fenton 7, Wright 7; Drummond 7, Fleming 8, McDonald 7, Brodie 7 (rep Redshaw 65), Ellison 7, Reid 7 (rep Alessandra 90). Subs not used: Arestidou, Parkinson, McGee, Threlfall.
Booked: Fenton. Wright.
Star man: Andy Fleming.
Ref: T Robinson