Limerick's Willie O’Connor edged a thrilling World Darts Championship clash with USA’s Danny Lauby at Alexandra Palace.

Leading two sets to nil, O’Connor just couldn’t put the 29-year-old from Indiana away.

The American even missed a match dart in a sudden-death leg after he had levelled up.

But the Cappamore man, ranked 42nd in the PDC order of merit, held his nerve and took out tops to secure a meeting with three-time BDO champion Glen Durrant in the next round.

After hitting seven maximums and averaging 96.02, the Magpie said: "Danny threw superb darts and he kept me under pressure, kept me honest.

"I feel asleep at 2-0 up, I expect to keep doing what I’m doing. I made a silly mistake, almost paid the price and I’m just happy to get over it.

"My scoring was really good...I have to brush up on closing out the game. Everything I do is all drama, if there’s drama my name is there somewhere with it."

Meanwhile, Steve Lennon and Daryl Gurney opened campaigns with 3-1 wins over Madars Ramza and Ricky Evans, respectively.

Carlow's Lennon averaged 93.22 and threw seven 180s in a high-quality first round game against the Latvian.

The world number 52 said: "It was very stressful, a bit nervous towards the end and I just wanted to get over the line.

"The heat on stage didn’t help. My hands were getting sweaty and a few darts slipped out when they shouldn’t have."

The 2019 World Cup finalist will meet Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, 12th seed, in the next round.

"Hopefully [I can go on a run]," added Lennon.

"The next game is not easy either. You just want to get through the first game and see how you go after that.

"Krzysztof is one of the most consistent players on the floor and I’ve yet to get a win against him. Now would be the perfect time for it to happen."

Gurney, meanwhile, dedicated his victory over Evans to his son, who was performing in a school pantomime.

"It’s never an easy match at the Worlds," said Gurney, who is ranked 22 on the order of merit and who hit six 180s, averaging 95.90.

"I think I was the better player, Ricky was here, there and everywhere. I was more competitive on every throw.

"I’m glad to still be in the draw.

"I’ll go home tomorrow, spend the day with my wee boy. I missed his school play for this. Hopefully he was watching so he knows that his daddy missed his play for this reason.

"Christmas day will be my son’s day, darts will be second."

Gurney, who has won two major titles, will face one of Rob Cross, Raymond van Barneveld or Lourence Ilagan in the next round.

World number six Gary Anderson came from behind to oust fellow two-time champion Adrian Lewis.

The pair had twice met in the final but this time they crossed paths in the second round at Alexandra Palace.

Lewis, who is now ranked 35, made the brighter start and took the first set 3-2 but Anderson powered back to prevail 3-1 by taking nine of the last 10 legs.

The Scot, who hit three maximums and averaged 93.74, told Sky Sports: "I have got a lot of respect for Aidy. He is one of the good guys.

"I'm trying a new set of darts. The doubles were all right, the scoring wasn’t quite there but it’s going well."

Anderson, who turns 51 on 22 December, will not play again until the third round begins after the Christmas break.

In first-round action, Lisa Ashton’s hopes of winning a first match at the tournament were dashed as she lost 3-0 to Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp.

Another Dutch player, Chris Landman, claimed a 3-0 win over fellow World Championship debutant Scott Mitchell, while Chas Barstow enjoyed his first appearance in the event as he beat Canada’s John Norman Jnr 3-1 to set up a meeting with three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen.

Ryan Meikle of Ipswich beat German teenager Fabian Schmutzler 3-0.