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Flanker Eoghan Masterson's converted try on the stroke of half-time gave Kieran Keane's men a 13-5 lead, as they looked to make it seven successive home wins in all competitions.

Apart from Dafydd Howells' well-taken 18th-minute score out wide, Connacht's defence managed to frustrate the Ospreys who had dominated first half possession for long stretches of the game.

The Ospreys coped well during Hanno Dirksen's sin-bin period, Sam Davies swapping penalties with Craig Ronaldson, before tries at either end from Tom Farrell and Reuben Morgan-Williams, and a fourth penalty of the night from Ronaldson sealed victory for the westerners.

Out-half Ronaldson, who was returning from injury, converted the second of two early penalty attempts for a 3-0 lead, the province threatening a try when nippy scrum half Caolin Blade was stopped five metres out by Lloyd Ashley's high tackle.

A Blade kick was then blocked down by Davies as the Ospreys sought a quick response. They turned down a kickable penalty but a Ronaldson interception foiled the Welshmen, who recently parted company with long-serving head coach Steve Tandy and now have former Ireland international Allen Clarke at the helm on an interim basis.

Connacht came under further pressure with Tiernan O'Halloran and Andrew Browne both leaving the field injured, and finding space out wide, Ashley Beck and Kieron Fonotia combined to release Howells who produced a fine finish in the corner past the despairing Pita Ahki.

Davies was unable to convert and Ronaldson kicked Connacht back in front with a 24th minute penalty. Again, the visitors turned down a shot at the posts in response, the decision not paying off as Fonotia knocked on.

Despite Tom Habberfield's influence on the ball, two costly penalties - one of them forced by centre Farrell's breakdown work - ended promising spells from the Ospreys, and Connacht stung them with a try via a late lineout opportunity.

Roared on by the 5,242-strong crowd, the home forwards carried strongly, hooker Tom McCartney in particular, before Blade fed Masterson to drive low and score to the left of the posts, with Ronaldson converting.

The Ospreys' task grew more difficult after they missed out on an early second half try - Dirksen's return pass to Davies went forward - and the right winger then saw yellow for a late tackle, 52 minutes in.

Davies pulled a penalty wide before redeeming himself to close the gap back to 16-8, with Dirksen returning from the bin. However, poor defending from Davies and Beck who allowed Farrell to slip away from them saw the latter dart clear for a well-taken 68th-minute try, converted by Ronaldson.

Although Habberfield's replacement Morgan-Williams raised the Ospreys' hopes by scrambling over three minutes later - the Connacht fans did get on referee Stuart Berry's back over a very questionable grounding - it was fittingly left to Ronaldson's left boot to sew up the result and complete his own 16-point haul.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Connacht boss Keane said: "We're thrilled with the result but it was a bit of a scratchy performance from us. The Ospreys were really good in my eyes. They put us under a lot of heat. The try before half-time (from Masterson) was compelling and it buoyed us at the break.

"Some of our defence, for maybe three-quarters of the game, was really positive. There were only a couple of slip-ups. We just have to fix that.

"I thought Craig performed well (for us). His goal-kicking was pretty good and his direction was good, and some of his defence was really good. He had a good day at the office."
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