Substitute Adam Dugdale's first goal for Crewe gave them a 2-1 win and ruined Jim Gannon's first league game in charge of Port Vale.
Justin Richard's second-half penalty cancelled out Shaun Miller's opener but Dugdale came off the bench to grab Crewe the derby-day bragging rights.
Richards had fired wide for the visitors before Robert Taylor's cross-cum-shot almost caught out Crewe goalkeeper Rhys Taylor as vale started brightly. Dave Artell make a timely block to stop Richards netting from Rob Taylor's cross but Crewe took the lead in the 18th minute with their first shot of the match.
Clayton Donaldson played in Miller who turned Gareth Owen before curling the ball into the bottom corner. Miller should have doubled his account but he failed to get his boots to Byron Moore's cross across the face of goal.
Rob Taylor went close with another long-range effort at the other end before Vale keeper Stuart Tomlinson had to smother the ball at the feet of Donaldson. Rhys Taylor produced a stunning save to keep out Rob Taylor's drilled half-volley but then brought down Richards in the box.
Richards stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to level matters with 58 minutes gone. Crewe were denied a penalty themselves minutes later when Gareth Owen appeared to handle the ball in his own box as Ashley Westwood shaped up to shoot. But Dugdale headed the winner in the 82nd minute when the substitute, on for the injured Artell, rose and directed Ashley Westwood's corner into the far corner of the net.