THE Dragons couldn’t make the most of a fast start and a red card for Cardiff centre Rey Lee-Lo as they were beaten 31-29 by their Welsh rivals in the United Rugby Championship.

In an entertaining encounter, Dai Young’s home side lost Lee-Lo in the second half but they still came out on top with home tries coming from Lloyd Williams, Hallam Amos and a penalty score.

The Dragons were dangerous in the first quarter, but they couldn’t maintain that pressure despite scoring through Taylor Davies, Mesake Doge, Rio Dyer and Joe Maksymiw.

There was consolation for director of rugby Dean Ryan as late efforts from Dyer and Maksymiw ensured two losing bonus points, but it could have been more.

South Wales Argus: Rio Dyer on the runRio Dyer on the run

The Dragons won possession back off Sam Davies’ kick-off and went straight on the attack. Dyer was heavily involved in the first phase, Jack Dixon threw a long pass, and when the ball was recycled back left, the away forwards got to work. Hooker Taylor Davies was the one to crash over.

Sam Davies converted for what was a perfect Dragons start. Jarrod Evans responded with a penalty for Cardiff, but Dragons looked dangerous.

Full-back Jordan Williams broke clear in electric fashion and it took a swinging arm from Cardiff scrum-half Lloyd Williams to bring him down.

Jordan Williams was on his way down when his namesake Lloyd hit him high, but the Cardiff man was justly yellow carded.

Jordan Williams went for the line when there was a three-man overlap outside him, but his profligacy didn’t matter. Dragons prop Doge went over anyway.

Sam Davies made it 14-3 as Lloyd Williams returned to the field to immediately make amends for his yellow with the first Cardiff try. The Wales cap reached for the line and just about made it.

Referee Ben Whitehouse consulted TMO Sean Brickell who decided the score was fair and Evans added the conversion. It was all-action stuff.

South Wales Argus: Burst: Former Dragons wing Hallam AmosBurst: Former Dragons wing Hallam Amos

Cardiff’s former Dragon Hallam Amos – who will retire from rugby at the end of the season at just 27 to pursue a career in medicine – scythed clear down the left wing. Jordan Williams is known better for his attack than defence, but his try-saving tackle on Amos was superb.

Evans did kick a penalty – Sam Davies missed in response – but Cardiff were being hit by injuries.

Max Llewelyn, Corey Domachowski and Jason Harries were all forced off in the first half. Harries was replaced by Dan Fish, who retired from professional rugby last week, but had to fill the bench here with both sides without their Wales internationals who are preparing for the autumn Tests.

Amos had been denied at first, but he wasn’t second time around. Lloyd Williams kicked ahead from the base of a ruck knowing he had an advantage and Amos made sure the gamble paid off.

Cardiff had perhaps been lucky to lead at the break and they were helped at the start of the second half by a Dragons try from Ben Fry being ruled out.

Whitehouse’s decision making can be skittish and often sometimes plain wrong, but he at least got it right when he consulted Brickell for Matthew Morgan being taken out in the air. Such a decision could have been reached far quicker.

Whitehouse continued to be at the centre of the action. He rewarded Cardiff’s forward dominance with a penalty try after a home driving maul showed no sign of being stopped.

The game looked like it might change in the 53rd minute.

Whitehouse and Brickell together decided to red card Lee-Lo for a shoulder to the head of Sam Davies who kicked the resulting penalty.

South Wales Argus:

It was disappointing then for the Dragons to immediately concede three points, giving away a penalty for being offside from the restart, and then watch Evans nail a monster effort from halfway.

Dyer did dot down in the corner as the Dragons made the most of their extra man and Maksymiw completed the scoring, but Ryan’s men still fell short of victory.

Cardiff Rugby: M Morgan; J Harries (D Fish 33), R Lee-Lo, M Llewellyn (G Smith 13), H Amos; J Evans, L Williams; C Domachowski (B Thyer 27), K Myhill (K Dacey 62), D Arhip (W Davies-King 70), M Screech, R Thornton (T Williams 65), J Turnbull (capt), W Boyde, J Ratti (S Lewis-Hughes 59)

Scorers: tries - L Williams, Amos, penalty; conversion - J Evans; penalties - J Evans (4)

Dragons: J Williams; J Holmes, J Dixon, A Owen, R Dyer; S Davies, R Williams (G Bertranou 56), A Seiuli (G Bateman 40), T Davies, M Doge (C Coleman 59), J Davies, J Maksymiw, H Keddie (capt), B Fry (D Baker 61), O Griffiths

Scorers: tries - T Davies, Doge, Dyer, Maksymiw; conversions - S Davies (3); penalties - S Davies (2).

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Attendance: 8,194