Sub Colin Daniel struck a dramatic injury-time winner as Vale broke Gills’ hearts late on for the second game this season.
Manager Rob Page had named an unchanged Vale line-up and it looked to have paid dividends early on as Ben Williamson found the target only for it to be ruled offside.
However, just minutes later, Ben Williamson made no mistake from a tight angle as he put Vale ahead.
It was proving to be an entertaining encounter as the away side went close and then following a mistake by Duffy they equalised through Cody McDonald just before the break.
Vale had a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the second-half. Good work from Williamson set up Louis Dodds but he put his chance just wide.
Gillingham had further opportunities to take the lead but failed to hit the target as Vale floundered for a period. Then Dodds’ deflected strike forced a fine save out of the Gills keeper and the away side struck the woodwork to show they were still in the game.
Page decided to bring on Daniel for Williamson – a decision that bemused some fans – but it paid off in the dying moments as Daniel turned and clinically finished off a Vale move to earn the Valiants a crucial three points. It was a fitting end to a dramatic opening game of 2015.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Duffy, Veseli, Dickinson, Marshall, O’Connor, Brown (Lines), N’Guessan (Campion), Dodds, Williamson (Daniel)
Subs: Johnson, Robertson, Birchall, Lloyd