Wes Durston hit a half-century, before Mark Footitt claimed two early wickets to give Derbyshire the narrow advantage after the penultimate day versus Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
Derbyshire gained a first innings lead of 16 runs after being bowled out for 372 with Ben Slater, Wayne Madsen, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Wes Durston all passing 50.
Gloucestershire lost four wickets for only 40 runs to give Derbyshire the impetus before closing on 137-5, leading by 121 runs with one day remaining.
Captain Wayne Madsen and overseas star Shivnarine Chanderpaul began Day Three on 77* and 50* respectively, but Madsen could only add three runs to his overnight score as he was caught off the bowling of Howell for 80.
Chanderpaul was the next man to go, caught at slip for 73 with Derbyshire still in a good position on 258-4.
Wes Durston hit 58 from just 55 balls with 10 fours and a six to propel Derbyshire past 300 and extend his good run of form with the bat.
All-rounder Alex Hughes batted wisely for his 39 to give his team a lead with five wickets still in hand. However, an impressive spell from Benny Howell and Jack Taylor for the hosts meant that the lead only reached 16 before Derbyshire were all out for 372.
The second Gloucestershire innings started brilliantly for Derbyshire. Mark Footitt removed both of the Gloucestershire openers cheaply within the first nine overs of the innings to restrict the hosts to 37-2 at Tea.
The Tea break did not manage to hamper the Derbyshire progress as Tom Taylor followed on from his maiden five-wicket haul in the first innings by bowling Alex Gidman for 15, before Ian Cockbain played onto his stumps off Palladino for just a single.
With the flurry of early wickets for the Derbyshire seamers, Gloucestershire were 40-4, with a lead of 24.
A partnership of 81 between Will Gidman and Hamish Marshall looked to have stemmed the flow of wickets for Derbyshire until Durston enticed Gidman into edging to Madsen at slip for 39.
At the close of play, Gloucestershire had scored 137-5 with a lead of 121 heading into an intriguing final day.
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