Tigers led the entire meeting but were never more than eight ahead of the home side.
The Gladiators lost Jason Crump to injury after the first heat - but Danish international Bjarne Pedersen plugged that gap, racing to a 19-point haul.
However he was beaten twice by Craig Cook, who dropped just one point as he led the visitors to a 46-44 victory.
Manager Cami Brown said: "It was a titanic battle. I know they lost Crump but they used Pedersen - a former Grand Prix rider - seven times.
"Craig was absolutely magnificent and Broc Nicol was also very good. Connor Bailey also had an excellent meeting at reserve and he did what he had to do.
"Sam Jensen was racing with very sore ribs but had an amazing win in heat eight - the best race of the right - which turned the meeting back towards us. He scored gutsy points. He's now going to get a couple of days of rest before the weekend.
"We just need to get Ricky Wells going a bit more and we'll be fine.
"I'm pleased to get the three points, it puts us back top. We have to get as many points as we can to get into the play-offs. We're nowhere near it yet but it's a small step in the right direction."
Next up for the Tigers is a trip to Edinburgh Monarchs on Friday before welcoming the third-placed Monarchs to Ashfield on Sunday.
Brown said: "It's going to be so hard. We'll be looking to the guys who used to race at Edinburgh for some guidance, but it will still be a difficult meeting.
"We have to make getting a point our target and then see where it takes us. They have strength in depth. In saying that, we don't go there with any fear - because we're on a winning run again.
"Sunday at home will be massive. If we win our home match that's the most important thing. Anything on Friday is a real bonus."