The Dragons poor away form continued after losing their crucial Celtic League clash at fellow strugglers Connacht, the away side had taken just eight points from a possible 35 away from Rodney Parade before this game and were caught short once again in Galway.
Wales lock Luke Charteris gave them an ideal start with the only try of the game early on to open a 10-6 half-time lead, but Connacht Mark McHugh, starting at outside-half for the first time in two years, kicked five penalties to edge a tense game and seriously damage the Dragons hopes of claiming automatic qualification for next season's Heineken Cup.
Coach Paul Turner said: "We lost the game in the first half because we didn't make the most of the wind that we had. We fumbled around in the middle of the field and made poor decisions.
"McHugh controlled the second half with the wind and did what we should have done earlier. But there were two very ordinary sides out there."
The Dragons lost Wales centre Hal Lusombe to injury before travelling to the west of Ireland but found their way over the line inside quarter of an hour.
Scrum-half Gareth Baber got his foot to the ball after Connacht botched a move in midfield. Ian Gough chased hard to snag Paul Warwick as he tried to run out of defence and when the rest of his pack followed in support, the Dragons had numbers outside for fellow lock Charteris to gallop over in the corner.
Craig Warlow converted from the touchline and added a penalty before the break to leave the Dragons 10-6 to the good at half-time, but home side Connacht used the breezy conditions cleverly in the second half to frustrate their visitors after regaining the lead early in the second half. The Dragons rarely threatened Connacht's line and McHugh settled the game in injury time.
Connacht (6) 15
Pens: McHugh 5
Dragons (10) 10
Connacht: Warwick, Mostyn, Mailei, Williams, Yapp, McHugh, Keane, Hogan, Fogarty, Knoop, Short, Gannon, Swift, Muldoon, Rigney
Replacements: Merrigan, Clarke, Gallagher, Lacey, Tierney, Slemen, McPhillips
Dragons: A. Thomas, Wyatt, Bryant, Sweeney, Brew, Warlow, Baber, Black, S. Jones, R. Thomas, Gough, Charteris, Ringer, Forster, Owen
Replacements: Brown, Maddocks, Robinson, Sidoli, Oakley, Breeze, Ireland
Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)