James Cahill has to win six of the final nine frames if he is to continue his Betfred World Championship adventure.
The 23-year-old trails Stephen Maguire 9-7 going into the final session of their second round match.
Having been 5-3 down after the opening session, Cahill won four of the first six frames to level matters before Maguire won the last two frames of the evening.
Cahill should have closed to within one by winning the opening frame but missed the final red and watched Maguire clear up to move 6-3 ahead.
The 10th frame followed a similar pattern with both players having golden chances to win.
Only needing the pink and black, Cahill missed the former and triggered a bout of safety.
That ended with the 23-year-old fluking the pink and potting the black to make it 6-4.
Frame 11 was another ragged affair with Cahill in pole position before a poor positional shot.
Yet more safety ended with Maguire potting the last four balls to lead 7-4 but a break of 40 ensured Cahill took a scrappy 12th frame to trail 7-5 at the mid-session interval.
A break of 69 saw Cahill win the 13th to move within one frame before runs of 52 and 45 saw him go level at 7-7.
Maguire stopped the rot with a break of 83 in the penultimate frame restoring his lead at 8-7.
He then moved two frames clear by winning the last frame of the night with a break of 121; his third century of the match.
The final session takes place at 2.30pm tomorrow.