Vale took the lead when Ryan Burge's pass fell to Louis Dodds to prod home and soon after Tom Pope added a second, before home substitute Kieran Agard was on target to set up an anxious finish.
Gillingham saw their lead trimmed after losing 1-0 at home to Barnet with Jake Hyde's first-half strike settling the contest at Priestfield Stadium.
Cheltenham bounced back from their surprise 4-1 defeat at Rochdale with a 4-0 drubbing of Wycombe. Goals from Jake Taylor, Jeff Goulding, Darryl Duffy and Jermaine McGlashan kept the Robins in third place.
Promotion-chasing Southend extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches with a brace from Gavin Tomlin helping them beat his former club Dagenham and Redbridge 3-0 with Kevan Hurst hitting the third.
Bradford remain just adrift of a top-four berth after defeating Accrington Stanley 2-1 thanks to goals from Garry Thompson and Alan Connell that sandwiched a strike by Rommy Boco.
Oxford made it five games unbeaten with an impressive 3-1 victory at promotion-chasing Exeter. James Constable took his tally for the season to nine with goals either side of half-time and Peter Leven added the third before Jamie Cureton bagged from the penalty spot for the Grecians.
Three second-half goals from Drew Talbot, Danny Whitaker and Tendayi Darikwa gave Chesterfield a convincing 3-0 win over York, John Ward earned a point on his managerial return to Bristol Rovers after the Pirates left it late to earn a 2-2 draw at fellow strugglers Aldershot, with Eliot Richards climbing off the bench to snatch a point.
Teenage debutant Tyler Harvey smashed home a dramatic late equaliser for Plymouth as they drew 1-1 with Devon rivals Torquay at Home Park, while Burton surrendered a two-goal lead against Rochdale but still managed to pick up a 3-2 victory.
Striker David Ball's sixth goal of the season handed Graham Alexander his first victory as Fleetwood boss as they beat Morecambe 1-0.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ryan Burge
- Kieran Agard
- Jeff Goulding
- Louis Dodds
- Darryl Duffy
- Jake Taylor