FULL-TIME: Gillingham 4 Scunthorpe United 0
Brian Laws' reign as Scunthorpe United manager began exactly as his predecessor's had ended, with a comprehensive defeat.
The Iron were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle as League Two Gillingham made it eight games without a victory for the visitors, knocking in four goals without reply.
In a 15 minute spell in the second half, the Gills killed off any hopes United had of getting their season back on track with Matt Fish breaking the deadlock in the 59th minute, followed shortly by a goal from Deon Burton and a penalty from Danny Kedwell.
Adam Birchall then added the final flourish in stoppage time.
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New manager Laws made two changes for his first game in charge as United looked to put a difficult few weeks behind them.
Andy Barcham came back into the starting line-up for the first time in almost two months, facing his former club in place of David Prutton, who was refused permission to play by parent club Sheffield Wednesday.
With Leon Clarke also ruled out of contention by Charlton Athletic, Mike Grella replaced Connor Jennings up front, partnering Karl Hawley.
And there was a place on the bench for midfielder Damien Mozika as the Frenchman stepped up his return from an ankle injury.
United's new era started brightly as they pressed forward early on and looked to put their hosts under pressure.
Barcham put in a lively performance against his old employers, while Mark Duffy, Grella and Josh Walker all tried their luck in the opening few minutes, all to no avail.
Laws had bemoaned his side's inability to score from set-pieces prior to this game and they rarely looked like bucking that trend in the first half at the Priestfield Stadium, with David Mirfin's header which flew over the bar about as close as they came.
Gillingham gradually grew into the game, but although looking threatening on the attack failed to make Sam Slocombe sweat in the first 20 minutes.
Quick-footed front man Myles Weston posed the biggest danger for the home side, but it was defender Fish who did his best to break the deadlock, volleying a corner wide on the half hour mark.
Mirfin and Paul Reid had to be on their guard as the Gills tried to turn the screw in the final quarter of an hour before half-time, but despite the odd slip, the Iron defence remained sturdy enough to see them through to the interval.
The break though, did little to dent Martin Allen's men's momentum and they emerged for the second half once again on the front foot.
Slocombe had to be quick to react when a corner was whipped in by Weston and was almost touched into the wrong net by Walker, while Charlie Lee's long-range drive was considerably easier to scoop up.
The best Scunthorpe had to offer in response prior to the hour mark came from Hawley.
Walker won back possession well in midfield and threaded the ball through to the front man, but, despite having Grella and Duffy in support Hawley opted to go alone and his final effort looped over the bar.
As the end product continued to elude United, their opponents showed them just how it should be done.
Slocombe superbly palmed away Chris Whelpdale's shot on the turn from inside the box, but he could do nothing about the rebound, which was slotted in by Fish.
And it got even worse for the visitors barely five minutes later. Unable to clear a corner, the ball came out to Weston on the left and his deep cross was headed home by Burton.
Weston continued to prove a thorn in Scunthorpe's side as the Gills began to toy with their visitors.
Mirfin went into the referee's notebook for a heavy challenge on Romain Vincelot, leaving Weston to take the free-kick from a similar spot to his earlier assist; this time, he squared the ball to Danny Jackman, who could only blast it high into the stand.
Laws brought Mozika into the fray for the first time this season with 20 minutes remaining but there was little to cheer for the travelling Scunthorpe fans.
Slocombe has proved himself adept at thwarting players from the penalty spot this term, but he had no chance when substitute Kedwell confounded United's misery in the 76th minute.
Walker's challenge on Danny Jackman was clumsy and Kedwell immediately made the most of the opportunity, thumping the spot-kick beyond Slocombe.
It continued to be a busy second half for the Iron keeper, who did well to stop Whelpdale from slotting in at the far post from a left-hand cross but Birchall added the final nail in the coffin, bundling home a free-kick in stoppage time while Mirfin lay injured on the sidelines.
GILLINGHAM: Nelson; Fish, Davies, Barrett, Jackman; Dack (Lee 21), Payne, Vincelot, Whelpdale; Burton (Kedwell 71), Weston (Birchall 79). Subs not used: Strevens, Frampton, Montrose, Forecast.
SCUNTHORPE: Slocombe; Ribeiro, Mirfin, Reid, Newey; Duffy, Walker, Collins (Mozika 71), Barcham (Ryan 78); Hawley, Grella (Jennings 78). Subs not used: Severn, Kennedy, Gibbons, Canavan.
ATTENDANCE: 4,017 (156 away).