Chris Neal saved a penalty but it was visitors Crewe who took the honours as they wrapped up a league double over the Valiants.
Rob Page named an unchanged line-up but striker Tom Pope was fit enough to make the subs bench. The Valiants started strongly with some good attacking play but the visitors were looking dangerous on the break.
The game burst into life on 25 minutes when Ajose was brought down by Neal and the referee awarded a penalty. Ajose stepped up but Neal saved the spot-kick to make up for his error.
It was an hectic affair and there was a flare-up on 35 minutes between Dickinson and Ikpeazu and several other flashpoints throughout the 90 minutes as both sides looked fired up for the derby game.
It was the visitors who took the lead just before half-time when Ajose made up for his penalty miss with the opener. It was a somewhat controversial goal as Ikpeazu was involved in a spat moments just before Ajose’s finish.
Vale made a triple change on the hour mark with Pope, Lines and Daniel joining the action. Lines set up Williamson ten minutes later only for Ben Garrett to pull off a fine save. Vale were doing better after their triple change but they just couldn’t find the cutting edge upfront to force an equaliser against a resilient Alex defence.
In the last few minutes, Pope had a glorious opportunity to level the score as Daniel set up Pope but Garrett saved. And Lines hit an effort against a crossbar as Vale were out of luck again.
It was a disappointing result for the Vale who probably deserved a point for their late pressure but the one bright spot was the return of talisman Tom Pope.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Veseli, Robertson, Dickinson, Marshall, O’Connor, Brown (Lines), Birchall (Daniel), Dodds (Pope), Williamson
Subs: Johnson, Moore, Duffy, N’Guessan