THE wait goes on for the Dragons after they suffered another defeat to Cardiff and another loss on home soil.

Dean Ryan’s men once again lost a lead in the final quarter to go down 19-18 to their rivals from the Arms Park in the United Rugby Championship.

They had a chance to snatch a game of two red cards at the death but young Will Reed, who was excellent again, missed a long-range effort from the tee.

It was an awful game in which the result was all that mattered – and it went against the Dragons.

They haven’t beaten Cardiff since the 2015 European Challenge Cup quarter-final win at Rodney Parade while they are yet to enjoy success at home this season.

They have just one shot at avoiding a nightmare in Newport with the Lions heading to Wales next weekend.

Ryan looks set to be without his three specialist locks to face the South African bruisers after Ben Carter joined Will Rowlands on the treatment table and Joe Davies was sent off.

The forward was dismissed after just 16 minutes for a high shot on Wales prop Rhys Carre when clearing out.

Referee Craig Evans was left with no choice after the lock caught the Cardiff man cleanly on the jaw with a daft, infuriating action.

South Wales Argus: OFF: Liam Belcher is dismissedOFF: Liam Belcher is dismissed

His choice was even simpler on the stroke of half-time when Liam Belcher, briefly of the Dragons in 2017/18 flew into the head of Will Reed in a crazy moment of madness.

That not only levelled the sides at 14 men but allowed Ollie Griffiths to respond to Lloyd Williams’ opener to make it 10-10 after a poor first half.

Rhys Priestland booted the visitors back in front soon after the restart before centre Jack Dixon powered over for a 15-13 lead.

However, the former Wales fly-half booted six more points and Reed could only manage three.

It was a very poor game between two of the URC’s strugglers with precious little to get the 6,414 crowd excited. Take the red cards out and there wouldn’t be a great deal in a highlights package.

There was no shortage of effort from the Dragons but they did lack quality were once again crippled by the penalty and error counts.

Priestland kicked Cardiff into a third-minute lead after the Dragons were caught offside shortly after being rucked off their own ball.

It was a sluggish start by both sides but then came the Davies incident in the 16th minute.

Evans was alerted to the incident by the TMO and was left with little choice but to dismiss the lock for making clear contact with Carre’s jaw when clearing out.

It continued to be a poor, error-strewn game played between the 22s but the Dragons levelled after 24 minutes when their seven-man scrum won a penalty that Reed knocked over from 40 metres.

The small fly-half then made an impressive tackle on the giant Carre that was swiftly followed by a penalty at the breakdown earned by flanker Ben Fry.

Reed had a crack at goal from the halfway line but it just drifted wide.

It had been half an hour of pretty dire rugby but Cardiff were 10-3 up after 33 minutes thanks to Lloyd Williams’ score.

The Dragons took a quick throw and the ball was banged long but the visitors countered for Wales wing Owen Lane to dart past Jack Dixon and put his scrum-half, who was running a perfect support line, over for a try that Priestland converted.

However, then came the second moment of madness with Belcher shown red after a ridiculous high shot on Reed, flying in at speed to smash the fly-half.

Cardiff had lost their numerical advantage and soon they lost their lead.

South Wales Argus: TRY: Ollie Griffiths goes overTRY: Ollie Griffiths goes over

The Dragons opted to go for the scrum, forcing the visitors to loose back row James Ratti for replacement hooker Kirby Myhill, and Ollie Griffiths carried from it and powered over.

Sam Davies, on while Reed had a head injury assessment, added the conversion to make it 10-10 at the break.

Priestland missed a shot at goal soon after the restart but it was second time lucky for the Wales fly-half from the tee.

The Dragons then suffered another blow with the loss to injury of Ben Carter, with the introduction of Huw Taylor meaning they had no specialist locks on the field.

Both sides enjoyed promising attacks that failed to earn points – Reed bursting through a gap and then rapid wing Theo Cabango racing down the left – and the next opportunity was again with the boot.

Griffiths was isolated, held on and Priestland had a shot at goal from just inside his own half but pulled it horribly, rather in keeping with the standard of the game.

It remained 13-10 but then came a moment of rare quality to earn the Dragons the lead for the first time.

Nice handling put wing Jared Rosser into the 22 down the left and they stayed composed to shift the ball right for centre Adam Warren and wing Rio Dyer to put Dixon in motion.

The centre finished powerfully against a defence that didn’t seem to fancy the collision – the Dragons led 15-13.

Reed’s conversion from the touchline was wide and that allowed Priestland to swiftly regain the lead with a sweetly-struck penalty with 12 minutes to go.

He then traded penalties with Reed and it was a one-point game with five minutes to go, setting it up for late drama.

The Dragons won a penalty and after the spot of the offence was checked, Reed stepped up for a shot at goal. The young prospect gave it a real whack but it was wide.

Dragons: J Williams; Dyer, Warren, Dixon, Rosser; Reed (S Davies 36-40), Bertranou (R Williams 68); Seiuli (Bateman 73), Dee, Doge (Fairbrother 73), J Davies, Carter (Taylor 45), Keddie (captain), Fry (Basham 64), Griffiths.
Scorers: tries – Griffiths, Dixon; conversions – S Davies; penalties – W Reed (2)

Cardiff scorers: tries – L Williams; conversions – R Priestland; penalties – R Priestland (4)

Referee: Craig Evans.
Attendance: 6,414