Albion's bid to seal a third consecutive victory was dashed by Delroy Facey's late winner for Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.

The Seagulls were a shadow of the side which brushed aside Millwall 3-0 in their last outing but were cruelly denied a point when Facey fired home in the 82nd minute.

Wilkins, forced into one change to the team which prevailed in such fluent fashion against Millwall at Withdean, actually made two.

Adam El-Abd came in at left-back for Joel Lynch, who is out for up to eight weeks with a hairline leg fracture. Wilkins plumped for the superior physical strength and resilience of El-Abd over Sam Rents, a more natural replacement for Lynch but less experienced.

It was mildly surprising, considering El-Abd is better known as a right-sided defender, and Jake Robinson was also entitled to feel a little hard done by at losing his place again on the right flank.

Robinson, omitted as well for the previous away game at Tranmere, gave way to Frenchman David Martot.

Last month's loan signing from Le Havre scored Albion's third goal against Millwall after replacing Robinson and impressed in the reserves against Aldershot on Tuesday.

Robinson, dangerous when he is on the ball but not always disciplined when the opponents are in possession, is seemingly viewed as something of a luxury away from home.

Both he and Rents were joined among the substitutes by Adam Hinshelwood, a welcome return for a player still regarded as the best defender at the club following a second cruciate knee ligament operation which had kept him out since Boxing Day.

Gillingham's caretaker duo Iffy Onuora and Mick Docherty, son of Tommy, made two changes after the 3-0 defeat at Southend which ended Ronnie Jepson's reign.

Captain and midfielder Andrew Crofts returned from international duty with Wales and Aaron Brown was restored to the defence, relegating Sean Clohessy and Craig Armstrong to the bench.

Gillingham were clearly intent on not allowing the Seagulls, and Dean Cox in particular, to run the show as they had against Millwall.

The home side started with Steve Lomas sitting deep in a five-man midfield, although they soon matched Albion up by reverting to an orthodox 4-4-2.

The first half was generally untidy and punctuated by minor infringements, which probably suited Gillingham better than Albion.

Chances were few and far between for both teams in the opening half hour as defences dominated.

Early on Andrew Whing, marauding forward from right-back, combined well with Martot before his shot was accidently blocked by team mate Nick Forster.

The Seagulls demonstrated once more how dangerous they can be from set pieces when skipper Dean Hammond had a free header at the far post from a corner by Cox which was blocked.

Cox was quickly closed down at every opportunity by his marker, Nicky Southall, but the little left winger still managed to fashion a decent opening for Bas Savage after chasing back to dispossess Brown.

Savage did not make the most of the situation inside the Gillingham box, scuffing his attempt to feed the ball back to Cox.

The biggest concern for Michel Kuipers in the first half-hour of the contest was an underhit backpass from El-Abd which Albion's Dutch keeper hurriedly skewed clear as Gary Mulligan closed him down.

Lomas signed from QPR in the summer, forced Kuipers into more urgent action in the 31st minute with a well-struck shot from 25 yards which he pushed for a corner.

Albion finished the first half in the ascendancy but on more than one occasion promising attacking positions were ruined by a poor final pass or cross.

The sturdy combination of Guy Butters and Tommy Elphick at the heart of Albion's back four kept Gillingham's front men at arms' length.

A touch of inspiration from somewhere was required to break the deadlock and Delroy Facey tried to provide it seven minutes into the second half.

The former Rotherham striker's audacious volley from outside the box looped on to the top of Kuipers' net.

It just wasn't quite happening for Albion going forward. Again they worked themselves into some threatening situations in the second half - again the final ball was lacking.

On one occasion Martot, released in behind the Gillingham rearguard by Whing, hit the first defender with a cross and his second attempt was comfortably headed clear, which rather summed up the Seagulls' attacking endeavours.

Robinson and Alex Revell were introduced at the expense of Martot and Savage and it was Revell who had Albion's cleanest opportunity with 13 minutes remaining.

Cox freed him inside the Gillingham area with a delightful pass but his toe-poke was smothered by former Seagulls loan signing Simon Royce.

The significance of Royce's save was emphasised when Facey punished Albion for a slack piece of defending in the 82nd minute.

Elphick allowed Facey to escape from him and the muscular marksman held off Albion's young centre half to slot low past Kuipers with the outside of his right foot.

Gillingham: Royce, Southall, Brown, King, Cox, Crofts, Bentley, Lomas, Mulligan, Facey, Sodje. Subs: Stillie, Graham, Armstrong, Clohessy, Cogan.

Brighton: Kuipers, Whing, El-Abd, Cox, Forster, O'Callaghan, Hammond, Butters, Savage, Elphick, Martot. Subs: Hinshelwood, Revell, Sullivan, Rents, Robinson.

Were you at today's game? Give us your thoughts on Albion's performance and the best will appear in The Argus on Monday