Lee Hughes (2) and Darren Purse found the back of the net on their home debuts to send Vale above Gillingham by a point, though the Gills - who host Wycombe on Monday - have played a game less.
Aldershot and Plymouth wasted chances to gain ground on Stanley near the foot of the table in 0-0 draws with Exeter and Dagenham, respectively.
Cheltenham's 2-1 home win over Torquay moved them from sixth up into the automatic promotion places, behind Port Vale and Gillingham.
Burton were held by bottom club AFC Wimbledon 1-1 at Kingsmeadow which saw them drop down from third into the play-off zone.
Morecambe overtook York City in mid-table with the result of the match day, a 4-1 away success, while Southend reclaimed a playoff berth for the time being after edging Oxford United 1-0 in Luke McCormick's first game since the goalkeeper was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.
Rotherham saw off Northampton 3-1 at home, while promotion contenders Fleetwood and Bradford shared four goals in a 2-2 stalemate and Rochdale and Chesterfield also split the spoils with a 1-1 draw at Spotland.
- Sports & Recreation