A ninth minute penalty from Simeon Jackson was enough to see off Yeovil Town at a blustery Priestfield Stadium tonight.
The Glovers were second best for long periods of the game and saw combative midfielder Jean-Paul Kalala sent off eleven minutes from time to complete a forgettable night.
Gillingham made their attacking intentions known straight from the off and forced a corner inside the first two minutes which the Yeovil defence cleared.
With four minutes gone, keeper Alex McCarthy made the first of several smart stops when he denied livewire striker Febian Brandy with his legs. The big keeper then went full length to pull off a diving save from Curtis Weston's snap shot.
The Gills were looking dangerous up front and it was no surprise when they took the lead on nine minutes. Brandy darted into the area and was pulled back by a combination of Stefan Stam and Steven Caulker.
Referee Miller pointed to the penalty spot denying Yeovil's protests and top scorer Simeon Jackson cheekily chipped the penalty straight down the middle.
If anything, rather than gee the Glovers up, the goal generated more pressure from the Gills. Jackson and Brandy were combining well together while Andy Barcham was also lively.
McCarthy twice made impressive saves from Jackson and Barcham before Brandy hit the crossbar with a fierce rising shot from the angle of the box.
Scott Murray came off to be replaced by Sam Williams after just 23 minutes as manager Terry Skiverton made a quick tactical change.
The Glovers gradually came more into it and Williams fired a shot two yards wide of the upright as the Glovers pressed for an equaliser.
McCarthy was still earning his corn and he denied Brandy and Chris Palmer within a matter of seconds.
The half closed with a skirmish on the touchline between Williams and Gills defender Josh Gowling which resulted in both players receiving a yellow card.
The half time cuppa seemed to invigorate the Glovers more than their hosts as the visitors came out looking far livelier than the first half performance. MacDonald saw his shot blocked while Jon Obika missed a cross by inches after a mistake from a Gills defender.
On the hour, Dean Bowditch came on for winger Andy Welsh as the Glovers pushed further forward for the leveller.
Right back Barry Fuller came closest to grabbing a second for the home side when his free kick from outside the box was brilliantly tipped on to the post by McCarthy.
Kalala earned his first yellow card for kicking at the ball when Brandy fell on it controlling with his hand. It was to prove a controversial moment with what followed a dozen minutes later.
Yeovil's first real clear cut chance came with eighteen minutes left when Simon Royce stretched to turn Williams' header around the post for a corner.
Gavin Tomlin arrived to replace Obika but two minutes later, the Glovers were reduced to ten men when Kalala went in late on Kevin Maher.
Yeovil came more into it in the dying moments than previously with Mason and Tomlin having half-chances but the final word went to Gillingham when Danny Hutchins cleared a Barcham effort off the line.