MICHAEL Smith survived a scare from Steve Lennon before edging their first-round encounter at the World Darts Championship on Wednesday, writes Andrew Simpson.

The number 13 seed landed 10 maximums - the most by anybody in match so far in this year’s tournament – but let slip a 2-0 lead against the Irish newcomer.

However the St Helens ace took control of the deciding set, closing with a 14-darter to set up a second-round clash with Rob Cross at Alexandra Palace on Saturday.

“That was a struggle,” he said afterwards.

“I found myself 2-0 up and I’m not sure how because I wasn’t playing well.

“I kind of took my foot off the gas after that, which I shouldn’t be doing, and he came back at me.”

Smith struggled for consistency throughout, but established a 2-0 lead on the back of hitting five 180s and a tremendous 150 outshot.

However Lennon, impressive on his first television appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts last month, took advantage when his opponent suffered a dip in the third set.

Smith appeared on course to wrap up a comfortable victory when he went 2-0 in front in the fourth set before the debutant raised his game to take the next three legs and force a fifth set.

“I had to dig deep,” added Smith.

“I didn’t want to a shoot-out again; every year it feels like I get to 2-2 in the last set so I wanted to win it quickly if could.

“Steve pushed me though, and deserves credit for that.

“I thought when I checked out the 150 in the second set that would kill him but he came back out and played even better.”