An 86th minute goal from Shrewsbury substitute Shaun Miller denied Gillingham a last day win as the teams shared the points in a 1-1 draw at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
The hosts commanded proceedings for large periods of the game, and skipper Adam Barrett
gave Peter Taylor’s men a deserved lead on 72 minutes.
The Captain followed up a Danny Kedwell
effort, which was headed off the line, and stayed in the box to take full advantage from close range as the visitors failed to clear their lines.
With victory in sight Shrewsbury pulled level against the run of play with four minutes to go - Miller finishing well after a low cross towards the far post was clinically converted from just inside the six yard box.
The result saw Gills finish 17th in the division, with Shrewsbury being relegated to League Two in 23rd.
Peter Taylor made three changes to the team that were defeated at Preston with Michael Harriman
, Bradley Dack
and Bayo Akinfenwa
replacing Elliott Hewitt
, Connor Smith and Charlie Lee
Aaron Millbank was named on the subs bench, with Matt Fish
also included in a Gillingham match squad for the first time since the opening day of the season.
After a quiet opening to the game, the first real opportunity was created on seven minutes when Gills were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal.
squared the ball to Joe Martin
who stung the gloves of Joe Anyon who was able to palm the ball away to safety.
Moments later at the other end Tom Bradshaw suddenly found himself with a real chance to beat Nelson from inside the box, but the keeper stood tall and made himself look big to brilliantly block the striker's shot.
Four minutes later and Nelson made another top draw stop, this time from Luke Summerfield, before Connor Goldson smashed the follow up over the bar much to the annoyance of Shrewsbury boss Mike Jackson.
On 16 minutes Bayo Akinfenwa
had his first effort on goal - Hessenthaler whipped in a great cross and had it not been for a slight touch off Steven Gregory
, the striker may have done better with header.
As it was the deflection adjusted the flight of the ball and Anyon was untroubled.
Gills bossed the remainder of the first half - Dack having a shot saved by Anyon after some great hold up play by Akinfenwa, before the striker had another header stopped by the keeper.
On the stroke of half time McDonald very nearly opened the scoring. After receiving the ball on the right hand side, he cut back as a defender attempted a sliding tackle, and picked his spot.
Anyon was beaten but the ball rebounded off the post and Dack was unable to take advantage of the follow up.
Seconds later Akinfenwa played Cody through the centre, he went around the oncoming goalkeeper but the touch was too heavy which allowed the defence to recover and eventually clear before the whistle went.
The half began just as the first did with neither side on top, however an individual piece of brilliance from McDonald very nearly produced the opening goal.
On 51 minutes he attempted an over head kick from just inside the penalty area, but unlike his strike at home to Walsall in late December, he was unable to beat the keeper.
Two minutes later and the Gills faithful were on their feet to welcome Matt Fish
back on to the field after not playing any competitive football since the opening day of the season against Colchester.
He filled in for Leon Legge
at centre-back who went off with a dead leg.
Within a couple of minutes Fish very nearly got a header away via a corner kick. The ball was a touch too high for the full back, but Akinfenwa was lurking just behind and put the resulting header narrowly wide of the far post.
On 61 minutes Paul Parry, who had come on as a first half sub for Shrewsbury, launched a shot over the bar before Danny Kedwell
and Aaron Millbank replaced Akinfenwa and McDonald.
Within ten minutes Kedwell nearly got on the score sheet when his header, courtesy of another corner, was cleared off the line, before Barrett stayed inside the area and took advantage of another ball towards the far post to convert from close range.
The skipper was in the right place at the right time and placed his header brilliantly as Anyon struggled to get across his line.
nearly made it two but was thwarted by Anyon before Parry failed to test Nelson after blazing a shot high of the target.
was next to have a go - his strike from around 20 yards tipped over brilliantly by the Shrewsbury stopper, and the save proved decisive as the visitors grabbed an equaliser on 86 minutes.
Shaun Miller, on for Aaron Wildig, was unmarked inside the area and did enough to beat Nelson from inside six yards following a low cross from the left wing.
The goal came against the run of play with Gills unlucky not to be further ahead, and with no additional chances created, both teams shared the spoils on the final day of the campaign.
: Nelson, Harriman, Legge (Fish 52), Barrett, Martin, Whelpdale, Hessenthaler, Gregory, Dack, McDonald (Millbank 62), Akinfenwa (Kedwell 61).
Unused Subs: Baxter, Linganzi, Lee, Fagan.
: Anyon, Grandison, Jacobson, Summerfield, Iorfa, Bradshaw, Taylor, Wildig (Miller 75), Goldson, Woods (Eaves 85), Mills (Parry 34).
Unused subs: Weale, Winfield, Hall, Ginelly
Referee: Mr D Drysdale
Attendance: 7634 (199 Shrewsbury)
Bookings: Legge (11), Miller (90).
Goals: Barrett (72), Miller (86).