Sheffield saw their injury curse return but still kept their League Cup dreams alive despite a 51-37 defeat at Glasgow last night.
The Tigers travelled to Ashfield for the first leg of their semi-final tie desperate to put in a strong showing in order to boost their chances of securing their first major silverware in over a decade.
They saw their hopes dashed by the losses of both Ashley Birks and David Bellego but battled on regardless to leave them needing to overhaul an achievable 14 point deficit when they host the second leg at Owlerton on July 16.
Jack Lee’s side got off to a solid start as Josh Bates stormed to victory in heat two before Andre Compton blasted from third to first on the opening lap to take the chequered flag in heat four.
Yet the popular Birks was left facing a trip to hospital with a shoulder injury as he fell whilst battling with James Sarjeant on the final lap of heat five.
With their chances already dealt a severe blow, they lost Bellego after he tangled with partner Jason Garrity in heat seven and was forced to pull out.
Tricky track conditions caused a number of other riders problems, with Glasgow No.1 Nick Morris ruled out after he lost control whilst leading heat six.
Despite being reduced to just five riders, the determined Tigers fought hard to keep their chances alive with reserve duo Bates and Arthur Sissis stepping up to the plate with battling performances.
The talented youngsters displayed plenty of character in difficult circumstances as they were forced to take 13 rides between them on a hectic evening.
Despite experiencing plenty of ups and downs, the pair held their nerve to deliver a crucial 5-1 in heat eight as they each ended with respectable contributions.
Guesting No.1 Josh Grajczonek also dealt with track conditions well with a fine performance to add nine points.
However, skipper Andre Compton struggled after hitting the deck in his second ride, whilst the exciting Garrity suffered a costly fall on the final bend of heat 11 after he had brilliantly blasted to the front.
It was nonetheless a brave effort from the depleted Owlerton outfit to keep their League Cup hopes alive – but they will wait to find out at what cost.
They will be anxiously hoping for good news regarding Birks and Bellego as they prepare to return to Premier League action against Berwick at Owlerton next Thursday, July 9 (7.30pm).
GLASGOW 51: Richard Lawson 16+1, Aaron Summers 13+1, James Sarjeant 7+1, Victor Palovaara 7+1, Dimitri Berge 5, Nick Morris 3, David Howe r/r.
SHEFFIELD 37: Josh Bates 11+2, Arthur Sissis 9+1, Josh Grajczonek 9, Andre Compton 3, Jason Garrity 3, Ashley Birks 1+1, David Bellego 1.