Dave Chisnall won five of the last six legs to send Wes Newton out of the Premier League for the second consecutive season.
With the victor guaranteed a place in the closing stages of the competition, the St Helens thrower raced into 2-0 lead, but Newton, who was averaging just 70, turned things around to win the next four in a row.
With the tension palpable on the oche, 'Chizzy' hit an important double eight with his last dart to break back and then held his nerve in the next to make it 4-4.
Following a poor leg by Newton, Chisnall sensed blood and hit double top to avoid going out of the competition, and in the final leg, he nailed double five with his final dart to eliminate his opponent at the MotorPoint Arena in Cardiff.
Afterwards, Chisnall told Sky Sports: "We both felt the pressure. He was dropping low and I was dropping low - I could have been 4-0 up but he missed doubles to let me back in.
"He's a very good mate - I feel sorry for him. Would have been nice if we both got through, but he missed doubles."
That game made the result of the last game of the evening between a resurgent Phil Taylor and Robert Thornton irrelevant.
Former UK Open champion Thornton, who already had a superior legs difference over Chisnall and Newton, was no match for Taylor though.
The six-time Premier League champion moved a point off the play-off spots after a 7-4 success, averaging an impressive 102.48.
"I'm not 100 per cent there, but I'm getting there - I'm getting stronger," said the 16-time world champion.
In the night's other matches, already relegated Simon Whitlock looked in control against Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen, before being pegged back for a 6-6 draw in a match which included five ton plus finishes.
Whitlock led 6-3 and looked on course for only his second victory of the campaign, but the Dutch ace fought back in style to remain on top of the table.
Whitlock threw a fine 12-darter against the throw to break his opponent in the third leg, but the reigning champion threw a magnificent 164 checkout in the fifth to break back.
The Australian broke van Gerwen for a second time by taking out 64 and then landed a sensational 170 out shot to a frenzy of noise.
World No 1 van Gerwen held throw with his third ton plus finish of the evening thanks to a 126 before winning the next three legs on the trot to salvage a point.
Premier League debutant and beaten World Championship finalist Peter Wright took a giant step towards the semi-finals thanks to a 7-5 victory over fellow Scot Gary Anderson.
In a high-quality showdown both players held throw until Wright won the last three legs to remain in second spot behind leader van Gerwen.
Borders star Anderson - the 2011 winner - missed three crucial darts at the double in the 11th leg to allow 'Snakebite' in with tops before sealing victory by hitting double five.
"I knew it was going to be a hard game against Gary - it always is. He's my idol," the Suffolk-based Scot said afterwards.
"I can play darts when I want, and I'm playing when I want, when I need to."
Raymond van Barneveld grabbed his fifth draw of the competition, but only after double world champion Adrian Lewis missed two darts for the match.
In a scrappy, error-strewn contest, the Dutchman managed to stay in the contest and take a share of the spoils.
The result keeps him one point and one place ahead of the Stoke thrower in third spot.