Louis Dodds scored twice for Port Vale as Burton Albion's winless run was extended to 12 matches.
The hosts, went ahead as Marc Richards pounced first on a rebound for his 12th of the season.
Burton offered little in the first half but went close after the break through former Vale striker Justin Richards.
Dodds scored twice in the last four minutes - his faint header was followed by a close-range finish.
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Port Vale manager Micky Adams told BBC Radio Stoke:
"We understand the reasons why we're going into administration, but it makes its harder when we're on a good run, playing some good football and have a real chance of getting promoted.
"If I was a Vale fan then I would be proud of the performance tonight.
"We're playing for our futures in the game. Will players need to be sold? Will I have a job? There are lots of unanswered questions that need to be clarified but until that happens we're all going out and trying our best and getting results against all of the difficulties."
Burton Albion boss Paul Peschisolido told BBC Radio Derby:
"At 1-0 I thought we came out after half time and had a better run of play. We put them under pressure and I thought it looked like if any team was going to score, it would be us.
"But then we had a free kick that we just couldn't deal with and it's ridiculous now the amount of goals we've conceded from set pieces - that's just amateur defending.
"From that we sunk, because we've got a bunch of weak players at the minute.
"We have no confidence. It's the same group of players that got us to 4th and 5th in the table and I can't understand how it's gone so wrong. I'm just baffled. "