Scott Kerr made his first appearance in two years after overcoming a back injury, while Mike Price, Nathan Peat, Liam Chapman and Jamie Heard all made their full debuts. Steve Burton was in for his second game in Tigers' colours, and Lee Philpott, Gary Bradshaw, Ryan Williams and Gary Alexander also made the starting eleven.
It took the Second Division side just 9 minutes to get off the mark with Brett Angell getting his 200th league goal, despite calls for offside.
He got a second after 33 minutes. Musselwhite saved from McPhee but Angell headed home the rebound.
Vale held onto their 2-0 lead until 20 minutes from time, when substitute Clayton Donaldson came off the bench to score on his debut.
However, the home side regained their two-goal lead soon later with Matty Carragher ending a passing move by firing past Musselwhite.
City line-up (4-4-2): Musselwhite; Heard, Chapman, Burton, Price; Williams (Russell 60), Kerr (Fry 81), Philpott, Peat; Alexander (Donaldson 60), Bradshaw.
Un-used subs: Harvey, Turnbull.