In the end it didnt matter that it took a Matt Fish own goal to end Albion horrendous run of sixteen games without a win. Pure relief was what echoed around the Pirelli Stadium at the final whistle as the Brewers deservedly took the spoils against promotion chasing Gillingham. Although it was the Gills defender's 54th minute ball past his own keeper that secured Gary Rowett's first victory as Albion caretaker manager there was no doubting that Albion were more than worthy winners as they showed grit, bravery and some attacking flair to secure the three points and a first ever win against the Kent side.
Argentine goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was undoubtedly the busier of the two goalkeepers and he almost single handedly kept his side in it as Albion threatened to put daylight between the two sides.
Jimmy Phillips was one of three changes to the starting line up for the visit of the Gills. He replaced Lionel Ainsworth who dropped to the bench along with fellow signing Seanan Clucas who made way for the returning Jack Dyer. At the back Nathan Stanton was restored to the starting line-up in place of Tony James and the former Rochdale man also took over as skipper as the Brewers looked to put Saturday's Wimbledon nightmare firmly behind them.
Albion got off to a good start as Greg Pearson battled away to retrieve the ball and fed Justin Richards. The striker got his shot away but rippled the side netting without testing Gazzaniga.
Gillingham weathered an early storm from the Brewers and had their first chance in the fifth minute as Danny Jackman slid a pass through for on loan Reading striker Jordan Obita but his left foot shot went well wide.
Richards had a second opportunity to test the keeper on twelve minutes when he found space on the right hand side of the area this time but although his effort was on target it lacked the power to seriously trouble the Gills stopper.
Likewise for the Gills Obita has a second chance to open the scoring on 18 minutes. A sharp turn from Jo Kuffour took him away from the Brewers midfield and he laid the ball into the path of the young striker whose shot had the power but was straight at Ross Atkins.
Richards and Pearson combined well on twenty seven minutes and this time it was the latter who had the shot but he was unable to hook his foot sufficiently round the ball to get his shot on target.
Referee David Webb did little to endear himself to Albion fans with some curious decisions especially when Jacques Maghoma was hauled to the ground and then barged off the ball with neither deemed to be fouls be either the referee or his assistant who was closer to the incidents.
Albion were given another warning about the pace and skill of Kuffour as the 40th minute came along. The striker scampered clear down the left channel but with the angle narrowing he was unable to slip his shot wide of Atkins who did well, Ryan austin following up clearing the danger.
The Brewers countered at pace and when Maghoma was seemingly sent tumbling in the box it was no surprise that Mr Webb failed to give anything Albion's way. To compound the officials performance he showed Nathan Stanton a yellow card for a pull back on Kuffour.
Amazingly the referee managed to go the whole half without awarding the Brewers a free kick, save for one offside decision. Nevertheless Albion's honesty and work rate could not be questioned and the Brewers deserved to be at least on level terms at half time.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Gillingham
It was another good start to the second half by the Brewers as Justin Richards saw an early shot deflected away for a corner and when the keeper could only punch inswinging set piece as far as Maghoma the midfielder, looking for options, saw none and curled a teasing effort just onto the roof of the net.
Everything turned for the Brewers on 54 minutes. A sublime pass from Webster opened up the Gillingham defence to allow Maghoma to burst clear. The midfielder should have done better than fire straight against Gazzaniga but the stroke of luck that Albion needed followed as Matt FISH followed up and inadvertently put the ball inside the post with the keeper hopelessly stranded.
The Gills made the first change of the night on 63 minutes and it was a former foe of Albion, Dennis Oli, ex-Grays Athletic striker who was introduced for midfielder Jack Payne.
Fish was then taken off as Gillingham tried to get back into it with the introduction of Charlie Lee.
Albion knew though they could not rest on the one goal lead and Adam Bolder almost jinked his way through before seeing a close range shot blocked and Jimmy Phillips burst through only to tamely shoot wide with Greg Pearson well placed to his left had he been able to see him.
Substitute Lee then had to be replaced after picking up a knock and experienced striker Rowan Vine was thrown into the fray to try and rescue the game for the Gills.
Albion made their first change with ten minutes of play remaining. Lionel Ainsworth was brought on for Greg Pearson and it almost reaped an instant reward. Justin Richards was denied by Gazzaniga and when Ainsworth picked up the loose ball he was oh so close to sneaking a shot inside the keeper's near post.
There was also some defending to be done for the Brewers and there was a sense of relief all round when a defensive header only found the feet of Lewis Montrose and his rising drive went over the bar. Ainsworth was denied by Gazzaniga after another move split the visiting defence open.
Patrick Ada was sent on in stoppage time to shore things up but it was only a few seconds later when referee Webb put an end to three months of winless matches much to the relief of the Pirelli stadium crowd.
ALBION: Atkins; Corbett, Stanton, Austin, Webster; Maghoma, Bolder, Dyer, Phillips; Richards, Pearson. Substitutes: James, Ainsworth, Taylor, Clucas, Ada.
GILLINGHAM: Gazzaniga, Frampton, Whelpdale, Payne, Martin, Obita, Fish, Jackman, Montrose, Essam, Kuffour. Substitutes: Lee, King, Oli, Spiller, Vine.
Referee: Mr. D.Webb (County Durham)
GOALS : Albion - Fish (54 own goal)