IT WAS not pretty, but Pontypool will not care after stunning Newport last night to give their Premiership survival bid an incredible shot in the arm.

Fly-half Sam Mills took over the kicking duties and kept his nerve to strike over an injury time penalty to seal a deserved victory and four priceless points for the hosts. It is often said that you know what you are going to get with a Gwent derby and this one did not disappoint – a scrappy, error-strewn affair albeit with plenty of commitment.

But securing the win was all that mattered and it was Pontypool’s battle against the drop rather than Newport’s push for the Premiership that received a boost. They remain favourites for relegation but can now put the pressure on Bedwas and Llandovery, especially if they secure more derby delight against Cross Keys at the weekend.

It was the hosts that settled quicker and full back Geraint O'Driscoll made Newport pay the price for their indiscipline with a pair of penalties inside 10 minutes.

Pooler dominated territory with abrasive scrum half Matthew Thomas relishing the battle with his former employers while Newport were prevented from getting any rhythm and tempo by basic errors and the whistle of referee Neil Ballard. It was a pedestrian, low-quality first 20 minutes but that suited the hosts, who relished the close-quarter exchanges with skipper and hooker Leighton Jones at his spiky best.

The Black and Ambers got up and running with a Steve Taylor penalty on 23 minutes but their opening was summed up by flanker Dan McShane, penalised straight from the kick-off and seeing not only a yellow card but O'Driscoll succeeding with the boot once again.

However, it was soon 14-a-side with openside flanker Cae Trayhern binned for offending at the breakdown and then disrupting scrum-half Tom Isaacs before he had retreated 10 yards.

Whistle-happy Mr Ballard played a generously long advantage while Newport were on the attack before allowing centre Tom Riley to step up and slot over the penalty while Taylor was receiving attention for an ankle injury.

Skipper Andrew Coombs gave Newport a rare attacking opportunity when he charged down a clearance from replacement scrum-half Tom Edwards and forced a lineout five yards out. The Black and Ambers won quick, clean lineout ball but the crash ball by Scott Williams was far too predictable and Pooler ensured the centre was penalised for holding on and took their 9-6 lead into the second half.

The coaches may have been given the chance to pass on a few pearls of wisdom but it was more of the same after the break with mistakes galore.

Riley put over a simple chance on 52 minutes and it was level-pegging at 9-9. However, neither side seemed to want to take the initiative and it was errors and aimless kicking on display rather than attacking intent.

It was the hosts who ended on the front foot and O'Driscoll had a shot at glory with a 73rd-minute penalty but was wide, followed by Mills missing with an O'Gara-style drop goal before he became the hero at the death.