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A Boxing Day clash between Newport and Cardiff is traditionally a spicy encounter and a sell-out 10,000 crowd let rip as the match began.
The Blues were desperate for a victory which would take them level with the Dragons just above them among the league's basement sides.
The 27-13 defeat last Saturday at the new Parc Y Scarlets was the Blues' fourth loss of the league season which belied their form in the Heineken Cup where they top their group with an impressive four wins out of four.
But coach Paul Turner's Dragons, despite the loss of influential back row Joe Bearman, were coming off a surprise bonus point 30-24 victory over the Ospreys last Friday.
And Turner's outfit began as if they meant business again as outside-half Shaun Connor booted a third-minute penalty before Kiwi full-back Ben Blair levelled matters just before the half-hour.
Between those two scores the Dragons came close to grabbing the opening try when Connor was held up over the line in the left corner, the final verdict on whether he had touched down or not going to television match official Huw F Lewis.
Eight minutes from half-time, though, the Dragons eventually got their try when what seemed a harmless kick to the Blues 10-metre line saw the defence stutter and wing Richard Fussell pick and run 40 metres to go under the posts and make Connor's conversion simple.
Blair and Connor swapped penalties before the break but within a minute of the re-start, it was all square.
Blues scrum-half Jason Spice put a lazy punt down touch just inside Dragons territory which caught the defence napping and let flanker Maama Molitika pick up and go around the posts. Blair's conversion was straightforward.
Yet, on 46 minutes, the home region went in front for a third time when Connor booted a 25-metre penalty which, unusually, saw referee James Jones call on the television match official's replay view before giving it.
Connor put his side 19-13 ahead with a fourth penalty from 25 metres but, when Blues centre Tom Shanklin burst to the Dragons line, Spice passed out of the ruck to put former Gwent outside half Ceri Sweeney over to the annoyance of the home fans.
The Blues kept up the pressure and took the lead for the first time with 11 minutes left when the Dragons midfield were caught offside in front of their posts for Blair to score.
And the visitors played great containing rugby as the match wore down to its conclusion.
It took the Dragons until the last seconds to get within drop-goal range and clinch the match but twice their attempts were charged down and full-back Jason Tovey, who had an excellent game, held his head in his hands after his 30-metre attempt went way wide and the final whistle went to signal a Blues victory.