Stuttering Port Vale conceded top spot to Chesterfield after a lacklustre display in a goalless draw with a Gillingham side who almost claimed their first away win in 33 games.
Vale's first-half performance was a pale shadow of what they produced early in the season and the visitors were unfortunate not to be ahead at the break.
Dennis Oli fired over when well placed and only a terrific piece of defending by Gareth Owen prevented Chris Palmer from opening the scoring in the 36th minute.
Gillingham goalkeeper Alan Julian did not get his shorts dirty in the opening 45 minutes and there was little change after the break as the visitors remained on the front foot.
Vale striker Justin Richards cleared a header from Tony Sinclair off the line before Mark Bentley was denied by the woodwork in the 69th minute.
Bentley cut inside Lee Collins on the right flank and curled a 20-yard shot which bounced back off the far post with Stuart Tomlinson beaten.
Vale finally forced Julian into action two minutes later when he saved from substitute Jemal Johnson and spread himself to block the follow-up shot from Marc Richards.
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