Gillingham notched their second league win of the season at Crewe, who have lost all their three games so far.
Chris Whelpdale gave the Gills the lead after he tackled Harry Davis before unleashing a thunderous shot.
Danny Spiller doubled the advantage minutes later when he drilled past Crewe keeper Steve Phillips.
The hosts got themselves back in the game when Shaun Miller finished Lee Bell's cross but they were unable to find an equaliser.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Crewe boss Dario Gradi told BBC Radio Stoke:
"At one stage in the second half I wondered what we had been doing for all of pre-season because we looked totally lost and uninspired.
"We've got problems at the back - that's not working very well. We're shipping too many goals but I can't do much about that at the moment.
"I know people think that we should have a plan B, but we don't have the funds for a plan B I'm afraid - it's as simple as that."
Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler told BBC Radio Kent:
"Last year we would have ended up dropping points. They may well have scored [an equaliser] last year but that shows how well we are working as a team.
"With our fans going 'Ole' that didn't really help us because a bit of complacency crept in and it looked a bit too easy but the goal changed the complexion of the game.
"At the end we were hanging on a bit, but I'm pleased. Crewe isn't an easy place to come to and get a result. I think there are lessons to be learned but lots of positives as well."