THE Dragons produced comfortably their best performance of the derby period yet it wasn’t enough to avoid a whitewash at Rodney Parade.

The Ospreys followed Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets in recording a Guinness PRO14 success against Dean Ryan’s men.

The Dragons scored tries through wing Jared Rosser and centre Jamie Roberts to be level at 20-20 with the clock in the 70s.

However, Stephen Myler kicked a penalty to edge in front and then replacement hooker Scott Otten powered over from a driving lineout to add to earlier scores by Mat Protheroe and George North.

It meant that that it was a pointless evening for the Dragons despite a dramatically improved display in a clash that provided far, far more entertainment than the previous two derbies.

Flanker Harri Keddie led from the front with another superb display while Aaron Wainwright and Jamie Roberts carried with aggression and intent.

They barely landed a punch in the festive derbies yet this time it was the failure to turn pressure into points during a dominant third quarter that cost them.

The Dragons will look back and feel that they could have been two from three against Welsh rivals but while Ryan may chose not to judge purely on wins and losses, it was a painful 0-3 for the rest of us.

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It was the Ospreys that had the early pressure against a Dragons defence that were bringing plenty of line speed but slipping off tackles.

A line break by wing Luke Morgan, who earned a full Wales cap after becoming a sevens great, led to an infringement that was punished by fly-half Stephen Myler after nine minutes.

A 3-0 lead was the least that the Ospreys deserved yet they were pegged back in the 13th minute when a break by wing Ashton Hewitt was followed by strong carries on nice lines by centre Jamie Roberts and tighthead Leon Brown.

A breakdown penalty in the 22 was put between the posts by fly-half Josh Lewis and the Dragons could have soon gone in front only for Nick Tompkins’ neat grubber kick through to just elude winger Jared Rosser.

The hosts had settled down and were having some joy with their direct running, with Wales back row forward Aaron Wainwright prominent.

They got a chance to put the squeeze on after 22 minutes when Morgan was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and the Dragons were rewarded for going for seven points rather than settling for three.

They kicked to the corner and put the pressure on by running hard through the phases until Nick Tompkins spread the ball to Morgan’s wing, where Rosser made the most of tighthead Ma’afu Fia being on defensive duty.

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The speedster’s fine finish – his side’s first try of the derby period – was followed by a superb touchline conversion by Lewis to make it 10-3 after 26 minutes.

Yet the 14-man Ospreys ensured they drew the sin bin period when a penalty was kicked to the corner. The forwards drove the lineout and then carried hard before Mat Protheroe was put over thanks to an overlap down the left.

Myler matched Lewis’ excellent conversion and then kicked a penalty for a narrow half-time lead, although the Dragons would have been happy to concede just three points after being under the pump on their line.

The home side started the second half strongly and marched into the Ospreys 22 thanks to a breakdown penalty by the impressive Keddie.

The first drive was stopped illegally and, playing with advantage, Jamie Roberts was agonisingly close to powering over on his trademark angle.

The Dragons went back to the corner only for the drive to be turned over, followed by an Ospreys scrum penalty to escape.

Back came Ryan’s men with Lewis putting Brok Harris onto the charge into the 22, with his offload putting replacement scrum-half Rhodri Williams even closer only for the ball to go forward when spread wide to the right.

The Dragons didn’t deserve to be behind and they put that right after an hour when a good kick chase won a penalty that Lewis slotted over from 40 metres.

Yet they were back chasing after 63 minutes when the Ospreys scored a cracking try with George North putting Owen Watkin through with a short ball in midfield and then raced over from the centre’s offload.

Myler converted and the Dragons needed to respond. And they did – swiftly.

Lewis’ grubber earned a five-metre scrum and Roberts carried powerfully over the line for a brutal try that his fly-half converted.

Myler made it 23-20 when he punished a breakdown offence by replacement back rower Lewis Evans after 71 minutes.

A strong scrum earned another penalty but the Ospreys went for the corner rather than the posts and got their reward with a killer blow by Otten from a driving lineout.