League One’s bottom club went in front after ten minutes with a close-range header from right-back Kelvin Mellor, returning to the side after missing the last seven matches with a knee injury suffered in manager Gary Bowyer’s first match in charge.
Bowyer, who signed Mellor for his former club Blackpool, was pleased to see the versatile defender complete 90 minutes.
He said: “I thought we deserved more from the game, but there were some positives to be taken from the game and to have Kelvin back was huge. I was pleased with his performance and for him to get through 90 minutes. Also to have defenders who can score takes pressure off the strikers.”
The goal came after Billy Clarke’s inswinging free-kick from the right caused problems and Mellor seized his chance to plant homer a firm header.
However, Gillingham equalised in the 53rd minute when goalkeeper Ben Wilson failed to hold substitute Bradley Garmston’s left-wing cross and Brandon Hanlon squeezed the ball into the net as the Bradford defence hesitated.
Bradford City: Wilson, Mellor, P O’Connor, A O’Connor, Wood (Woods 76), Clarke (Butterfield 79), Wright, O’Brien, Anderson, Scannell, Miller (Doyle 76). Unused substitutes: O’Donnell, Payne, Devine, Caddis.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Elmer, Hanlan, Charles-Cook, Fuller(Gamston 39), Campbell (Eaves 82), List, Da Silva Lopes (Rees 64), Byrne, Ogilvie. Unused substitutes: Hadler, Lacey, Oldaker, King.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton.