THE derby drought is over after the Dragons survived more late kicking drama to edge a 23-22 win against the Ospreys at a rocking Rodney Parade.

The weekend after Ceri Jones’ men had suffered a 19-16 Guinness PRO14 defeat when Gareth Anscombe slotted a penalty from the final kick, they watched on as Sam Davies pulled an effort from the tee in the 80th minute.

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He failed where replacement fly-half Jason Tovey had succeeded, leaving the Dragons to taste derby delight for the first time since beating the Blues in the capital on Boxing Day, 2014.

After 23 doses of misery, the Dragons had ended the hoodoo and it was a victory based on tenacity in defence.

Wing Jared Rosser and Elliot Dee scored tries but the spoils were earned by the spirit, desire and organisation without the ball.

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Jared Rosser crosses for the Dragons (Picture: Huw Evans Agency)

Wales internationals Aaron Wainwright and Cory Hill led the way while the unsung duo of Jarryd Sage and Adam Warren played blinders in midfield.

The Dragons are so often the plucky losers but this time they sneaked home to give caretaker boss Jones, holding the reins after the sacking of Bernard Jackman, his finest moment in coaching.

This was the region playing as their supporters demand; they know that they aren’t world beaters, they know that the squad lacks depth but they expect fight, fight and more fight.

The Dragons headed into the game with their usual role of underdogs but their effort at the Arms Park, playing for an hour with 14 men, had given the players a surge of belief and the fans a dose of hope.

Nonetheless, the sight of Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Scott Williams and Owen Watkin warming up for the playoff-chasing Ospreys emphasised the size of the task facing the hosts.

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The Dragons took great encouragement from opening the scoring in the fifth minute both through the method of winning a penalty, an impressive scrum, and the manner in which fly-half Josh Lewis slammed it over from just inside the Ospreys’ half.

The hosts changed their defensive structure in the autumn before Jackman’s departure and they showed signs of progress by repelling a bout of pressure from the visitors, albeit against some rather uninspired attack.

The reward for that toil without the ball came when Lewis made it 6-0 from the tee after 19 minutes only for opposite number Sam Davies to swiftly respond in kind after the Dragons went off their feet.

The Ospreys then went hunting the lead for the first time only for the Dragons to ride their luck and instead extend it.

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The visitors’ coaching team at the back of the Rodney Road Stand were calling for a yellow card approaching the half hour when Hallam Amos knocked on preventing a Sam Davies pass to his right with three men waiting to canter over – the Wales man was saved by getting both hands to the ball and knocking it up – and instead play switched from one line to the other.

The Ospreys carried hard from the resulting scrum only to knock-on with Dragons scrum-half Rhodri Williams content to leather the ball clear from by his posts.

Luke Morgan and Dan Evans, two players formerly on the Dragons’ books, dithered and allowed the ball to take a home bounce into the hands of wing Jared Rosser, who showed impressive pace to make the line from 60 metres.

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Lewis converted superbly from the touchline only for the Ospreys pack to earn a scrum penalty that Davies banged over for the final score of the half.

At 13-6 the Dragons were dreaming of ending the derby hoodoo, but they had been there before in October when they led 12-5 against the Blues in Newport.

It took three minutes for the Ospreys to move three points closer through the left boot of Davies when he picked himself up after a (marginally) late tackle by lock Brandon Nansen to kick the penalty.

But the Dragons responded impressively by pinning the visitors inside their own half, getting their reward with 53 minutes gone.

Morgan misjudged a Lewis kick through and after being smashed by Rosser he flung the ball inside. It was hacked on by lock-turned-blindside Cory Hill and the captain then made a brave decision after he was dragged down five metres out and the Ospreys infringed.

Hill pointed to the corner rather than the posts and then, after Nansen carried hard from a cunning move, Wales hooker Elliot Dee sniped over.

Lewis’ conversion made it 20-9 and the Dragons were half an hour away from glory.

Davies chipped away at the lead with a penalty for offside – after referee Dan Jones had looked at a possible dangerous tackle by Nansen – and it took more fine scrambling defence to deny the visitors a first try after a powerful George North run into the 22.

More fine work saved the day in the 63rd minute when Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright forced a knock-on by Davies as the visitors looked to move back within a score.

But the Ospreys weren’t to be denied after 66 minutes when Olly Cracknell burst through replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle’s tackle and put fellow flanker Justin Tipuric over.

Davies’ conversion made it a one-point game and then he nudged the visitors into a 22-20 lead when he punished a deliberate knock-on by Amos.

But back came the Dragons a superb kick through earned a five-metre scrum and the forwards responded to earn the penalty.

Jason Tovey, on for Lewis, stayed calm and slotted it from the left touchline to put the hosts 23-22 up and six minutes away from victory.

Then, after another North burst into the 22, came the late drama.

Dragons: Z Kirchner, J Rosser, A Warren, J Sage, H Amos (J Williams 49-57, 69), J Lewis (J Tovey 63), R Williams (T Knoyle 63), R Bevington (D Suter 63), E Dee (R Hibbard 60), A Jarvis, B Nansen (L Evans 66), M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, H Keddie (J Benjamin 37- 40, 69).

Scorers: tries – J Rosser, E Dee; conversions – J Lewis (2); penalties – J Lewis (2), J Tovey

Ospreys: D Evans (L Price 66), G North, S Williams, O Watkin (C Allen 56), L Morgan, S Davies, A Davies, G Thomas (R Jones 56), S Baldwin (S Otten 53), T Botha (A Jeffries 53), A Beard, AW Jones, O Cracknell, J Tipuric (captain), J King (S Cross 60).

Scorers: tries – J Tipuric; conversions – S Davies; penalties – S Davies (5)

Referee: Daniel Jones (WRU)

Argus star man: Cory Hill