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Taylor slumps to fourth defeat in five

ESPN staff
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Phil Taylor has just two points in this season's Premier League © PA Photos
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Phil Taylor's troubles continued as he slumped to a fourth defeat in five Premier League Darts matches after going down 7-5 to Gary Anderson at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter.

The first four legs went against the throw, before Taylor took out 76 to go in front with the game's first hold. Anderson levelled and then capitalised on four missed doubles from Taylor to regain the lead on double six. The 2011 champion stretched his lead to two legs before Taylor posted double 16 to close to gap.

Anderson secured a point when he took out 114 on tops for 6-4, but Taylor forced a deciding leg by finishing double eight. However Taylor failed to secure just a third point of the season, missing two darts at double 14 with Anderson taking out 97 on double ten to move into the top four with a third win of the season.

Earlier, Adrian Lewis fought back from 6-3 down to secure a point against Michael van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen raced into a 2-0 lead before Lewis won three successive legs to edge in front. World champion Van Gerwen then went one better by taking the next four legs, moving to the brink of victory at 6-3 with double tops to make sure he came away with at least a draw.

But Lewis kept himself in the match with double eight to reduce the deficit to two legs after Van Gerwen missed a dart at tops for a 108 finish. Lewis then took out 110 to force a decider, and finished double 18 to earn a point after Van Gerwen again missed another match dart at tops.

"He did very well. I had a point from 6-3 and then I was struggling to finish, he came back very well," Van Gerwen, who remains second in the table on seven points, told Sky Sports. "We like to play each other, we both have a fast game. Most of the people like to watch that. We didn't turn up, both of us, but we're still in the race for the play-offs."

Lewis said: "I've had a chest infection, but tonight I was up for him. It didn't work out as well as I thought it would, when he went in front for the first time I thought, 'Mike, you don't deserve this', but he was hitting 180s against the throw. We both didn't play our best. He's been the best player all year."

"He thinks he's No.1 and I think I'm No.1," added Lewis. "Over this next year we'll see who comes out on top."

Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall also had to settle for a draw.

The match stayed on throw for the first six legs, before Chisnall took out tops to break for the first time and go 4-3 up.

However Van Barneveld responded immediately with a break of his own on double 10 after Chisnall missed three darts to go two legs ahead.

The pattern continued with Chisnall hitting a maximum before finishing 110, and Van Barneveld returned the favour with another break for 5-5, hitting double eight. Van Barneveld then made sure of at least a point after taking out 89 on the bull, but missed a dart at tops for the win with Chisnall landing a fifth maximum by taking out 57 on double 10 for 6-6.

In the final match of the night, Simon Whitlock kept his season alive with his first points of the campaign, beating Robert Thornton 7-5. The pair traded breaks before Whitlock took out 70 on double top to snatch the lead. The next three legs stayed on throw before Thornton took the next two to lead 5-3. Whitlock rallied though, winning the next four legs to earn his first victory.

That was Thornton's second match on Thursday, due to Wes Newton being ruled out with illness. He had kicked off the evening by earning a point against the unbeaten table topper and World Championship finalist Peter Wright.

After landing two 180s in the opening leg against throw, Thornton went on to take a 2-0 lead. Wright finished 116 to register his first leg before Thornton regained his two-leg advantage with tops. But Wright reeled off the next three legs to lead for the first time at 4-3, and moved to the brink of victory at 6-4 after finishing 96 on double 18.

However Thornton ensured he took a point, the former UK Open champion finishing double 10 to force a decider and then opening with two 180s before hitting tops for an 11-darter.

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