Five penalties from six attempts for converted out-half Mark McHugh was enough for bottom side Connacht to see off the Dragons at the Sportsground and earn some crucial Celtic League points.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Saturday, April 15
CONNACHT 15 NEWPORT-GWENT DRAGONS 10, The Sportsground (Att: 1,800)
Scorers: Connacht: Pens: Mark McHugh 5
Dragons: Try: Luke Charteris; Con: Craig Warlow; Pen: Warlow
Connacht celebrated back-to-back wins in the Celtic League for the first time since November 2004 as McHugh turned in a man-of-the-match display in Galway.
Dragons lock Luke Charteris scored the only try on a sunny afternoon, but McHugh's right boot decided the affair to help the province to a third win in four League outings.
Missing captain and lock Andrew Farley (back) and impressive centre Keith Matthews (leg) through injury and facing a Dragons side containing nine Welsh internationals, Connacht might have been expected to struggle.
But against the wind, the westerners played a good deal of the rugby and were unfortunate to be 10-6 down at the interval.
One-cap Ireland international McHugh slotted in at number 10 in a reworked back-line - Paul Warwick lined out at full-back - and kept Connacht on the move with a series of booming touch finders. Having drawn an early drop goal shot wide, McHugh opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty from 38 metres out.
The Dragons, looking for their first win in eight trips across the Irish sea, replied with a try from Charteris - the League's tallest player (6ft 9in) notched his first score of the campaign. Warwick tried to work the ball out of the Connacht 22, was tap-tackled by Ian Gough and his fellow lock Charteris gobbled up possession to make the corner.
Fly half Craig Warlow converted and he kicked a 33rd-minute penalty - replying to McHugh's second - to chalk up his 100th point in the League this season and push Paul Turner's outfit into a 10-6 lead.
With the wind though, Connacht wasted little time in taking the lead. McHugh arced over a quick brace of penalties on 45 and 49 minutes to punish the Dragons for ruck offences.
12-10 in front, Michael Bradley's host began to dominate but a try eluded them on a couple of occasions - had New Zealand centre Gavin Williams not knocked on in a late attack, it might have been a different scenario.
Warwick pushed a drop goal attempt wide from the halfway line and with a two-point advantage, Connacht nerves were left jangling until McHugh's fifth successful kick - nine minutes into injury-time.
In the race for the Heineken Cup qualification play-off spot, Connacht are now four points behind the ninth-placed Dragons, who have two games in hand.
TIME LINE: 8 minutes - Connacht penalty: Mark McHugh - 3-0; 16 mins - Dragons try: Luke Charteris - 3-5; conversion: Craig Warlow - 3-7; 27 mins - Connacht penalty: Mark McHugh - 6-7; 33 mins - Dragons penalty: Craig Warlow - 6-10; 40+4 mins - Dragons penalty: missed by Craig Warlow; Half-time - Connacht 6 Dragons 10; 45 mins - Connacht penalty: Mark McHugh - 9-10; 49 mins - Connacht penalty: Mark McHugh - 12-10; 80+9 mins - Connacht penalty: Mark McHugh - 15-10; Full-time - Connacht 15 Dragons 10
CONNACHT: Paul Warwick; Matt Mostyn, Andrew Mailei, Gavin Williams, Darren Yapp; Mark McHugh, Chris Keane; Ray Hogan, John Fogarty, Stephen Knoop, Christian Short, David Gannon, Mike Swift, John Muldoon, Colm Rigney.
Replacements used: Adrian Clarke for Hogan (60 mins), Conor McPhillips for Mailei (64), David Slemen for Yapp (78), Tom Tierney for Keane (80+7). Not used: Joe Merrigan, Andrew Gallagher, Matt Lacey.
DRAGONS: Aled Thomas; Gareth Wyatt, Jon Bryant, Ceri Sweeney, Nathan Brew; Craig Warlow, Gareth Baber; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Ian Gough, Luke Charteris, Jamie Ringer, Jason Forster (capt), Michael Owen.
Replacements used: Ben Breeze for A Thomas (50 mins), Rhys Oakley for Forster (55), David Maddocks for Black, Peter Sidoli for Charteris (both 67), Andrew Brown for Jones, James Ireland for Baber (both 72). Not used: Gethin Robinson.
Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)