LEICESTER No.1 Nick Morris raced to a 15-point maximum to help his side build an eight-point lead over Poole in the KO Cup semi-final.
The Lions won 49-41 despite the scores being level with only three heats remaining, before Morris combined with Hans Andersen (11+1) for a 5-1 in Heat 13, and the home side then collected two 4-2s.
Steve Worrall top-scored for the Pirates with ten, leaving the tie well-poised ahead of the second leg at Wimborne Road on September 29.
Lions boss Stewart Dickson said: “The lads showed great character to respond as they did. Top teams are hard to beat and we really hurt Poole in those last three heats.
“The racing was tough but fair, and it was very pleasing to see’ the boys stepping up to compensate for some of the lads who had an indifferent night.
“We’ve put ourselves in a decent position with this result, and we’ve given ourselves a very good chance in the second leg down at Poole.”
Poole promoter Danny Ford said: “I felt we did well to recover from that bad start, but to then take a bit of a battering in the last few heats was disappointing.
“We had done the hard work and you would have hoped that we could have retained them in the closing stages, but they had Morra in excellent form and you must be pragmatic and recognise that they have a strong top three just like ourselves.
“I think the meeting at Poole on the 29th is set to be a real battle.”
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Photo Credit: STEVE DIXON