Vale missed the chance to make inroads on the Gills' five-point lead at the top as they wasted a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Dale at Vale Park.
Two goals from Tom Pope had put Vale in a commanding position after 62 minutes but the game changed after Vale had Sam Morsy sent off six minutes later.
Bobby Grant reduced the deficit for the visitors on 73 minutes and Andrew Tutte fired home three minutes from time to salvage his side a point.
Gillingham's lead remains intact at the top of the table after they were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against third-placed Cheltenham at Priestfield Stadium.
On a night when none of the division's top 10 managed to win, fourth-placed Fleetwood were held 1-1 at home by Rotherham, who took a 19th-minute lead through Kari Arnason before Jon Parkin equalised two minutes later.
Bradford were held to a goalless draw at home by Chesterfield and Torquay slumped to a surprise defeat away to Barnet, Clovis Kamdjo's 79th-minute strike enough to lift the Londoners off the foot of the table.
Instead it was Aldershot who slumped to the bottom after failing to make a breakthrough at home to fellow strugglers Wycombe, a cause hampered by the first-half sending-off of Anthony Tonkin.
Exeter were the night's only real beneficiaries as they moved to the brink of the play-off zone with a 2-0 win over Wimbledon. Jamie Cureton shot the Grecians in front on 32 minutes and John O'Flynn added a 71st-minute second.
Struggling Dagenham & Redbridge clung on for a 3-2 win at Oxford despite the 69th-minute sending-off of Kevin Maher.
Sam Williams and Luke Howell gave the Daggers an early lead before Tom Craddock reduced the deficit on the hour. Luke Wilson restored the two-goal cushion but Craddock's second and Maher's 69th-minute goal left some anxious moments.
Southend were also 3-2 winners away to Bristol Rovers, who bounced back from Fabian Broghammer's early strike for the hosts to go 3-1 up through Gavin Tomlin, Kevan Hurst and Ryan Cresswell.
David Clarkson reduced the deficit for Rovers five minutes from time before the home side had substitute Oliver Norburn sent off.
Northampton grabbed a point at York despite playing the last hour with 10 men following Louis Moult's red card. Matty Blair put the hosts in front on 23 minutes but Adebayo Akinfenwa equalised on 68.
The game between Morecambe and Accrington Stanley ended goalless.