The home side took charge of the game in the early stages but failed to capitalise on a ninth minute chance that saw Marc Richards clear through on goal.
However, the Valiants didn't have to wait much longer when Paul Harsley's shot from close range was stopped short by the arm of Craig Easton to concede a debatable penalty.
Top-scorer Luke Rodgers was quick to step up and buried the spot-kick straight down the middle and into the roof of Peter Brezovan's net after 18 minutes.
However, any celebrations were shortlived as a Jon-Paul McGovern's left-sided free-kick found its way into the box with Lee Peacock getting the faintest of touches to send it past Joe Anyon in the 19th minute.
An all-action first half saw Danny Whitaker reclaim the lead after 26 minutes when Will Atkinson threaded a through ball for the midfielder to finish into the goalkeeper's bottom right from 12 yards.
A decent burst forward down the right flank by Miguel Comminges marked the first glimmer of any equaliser for the visitors, but a superb tackle by George Pilkington deflected his shot over.
Swindon boss Paul Sturrock shuffled his pack, using all three substitutions which included the addition of former Vale captain Sam Collins and departure of fellow former team mate Billy Paynter.
Rodgers went in search of his second of the afternoon, but despite getting ahead of his marker after David McGoldrick's flick, the striker sent his shot into the side netting.
An uninspiring Swindon were left limping towards the final whistle as striker Simon Cox missed a golden opportunity only ten yards in front of goal to leave his side empty handed.