Published: 16:30, 12 December 2015
Gillingham’s unbeaten start to the season at Priestfield was ended by league leaders Burton.
Damien McCrory put Albion ahead just before the hour mark against 10-man Gills.
Doug Loft’s first-half sending off, for a second bookable offence, left the home side up against it and substitute Lucas Akins fired home Burton’s second to end Gillingham’s hopes before Anthony O'Connor added a stoppage-time third.
Boss Justin Edinburgh stuck with the same XI which earned a point at Shrewsbury a fortnight ago.
The visitors were without their newly-appointed manager Nigel Clough, who was unable to make the trip to Kent due to a prior engagement.
Clough’s reign got off to a winning start to end an unbeaten home run for the Gills that had stretched back to April.
Gillingham were unable to test visiting keeper Jon McLaughlin in the opening half and their chances were made harder with the dismissal of skipper Loft.
Prior to Loft’s departure the visitors had enjoyed the better of the half, testing Stuart Nelson on a number of occasions.
Tom Naylor, Mark Duffy and Callum Butcher were all thwarted by the home stopper, while Naylor’s glancing header went just wide of the post for Burton.
Gillingham’s closest chance came from a Dack header, running onto a Ryan Jackson cross, which Robbie Weir almost turned into his own net.
Nine minutes before the break the Gills found themselves a man down. Loft had been harshly booked for an earlier foul but when he and Stuart Beavon had a coming together, referee James Linington reached into his pocket for another yellow, swiftly followed by the red.
The Gills held out with 10 men until the half-time whistle. Aaron Morris dropped back into the defence for the second half, with Bradley Garmston and Jackson taking on wing-back roles.
Nelson’s busy afternoon continued after the restart, saving early on from Beavon and moments later down at the feet of Nasser El-Khayati, following Duffy’s excellent angled pass.
Gills’ first attempt on target came just before the hour, ending a spell of increased pressure from the vistors. Jackson broke and from his cross Samuel’s shot was saved.
Burton responded with a goal with an hour gone. The ball was pulled back to McCrory and from 20 yards he drove the ball low past Nelson.
Samuel almost hit back immediately for the Gills with an audacious effort. Spotting the keeper off his line, the on-loan striker struck the bar with a curling shot from 30 yards.
Gillingham looked to threaten as the game opened up. Jermaine McGlashan replaced Morris with 15 minutes left but the Gills were unable to overly trouble the visitors where it mattered.
Burton wrapped up the win with two late goals. Duffy – a menace all afternoon – got the better of Brennan Dickenson and found Naylor on the wing. A great cross for Akins was finished well by the substitute in the last minute.
O'Connor grabbed a third as the Gills were hit on the break, getting the final touch on a Naylor shot.
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Garmston (Dickenson 68mins), Egan, Oshilaja, Hessenthaler, Loft, A Morris (McGlashan 75mins), Dack, Samuel, McDonald (Donnelly 68mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Ehmer, Wright, Osadebe.
Burton: McLaughlin, Edwards, Mousinho, Flanagan, McCrory, Weir, Naylor, Butcher (O’Connor 82mins), El Khayati (Akins 65mins), Duffy, Beavon (Thiele 90mins). Subs not used: Matthews, Cansdell-Sherriff, Reilly, Binnom-Williams.
Attendance: 6,230 (142 away).