Scott Matthews’ sin-binning proved to be Newport Gwent Dragons’ undoing as Scarlets made the most of their man advantage, scoring two quick-fire tries as they opened their LV= Cup campaign with a 21-13 victory.
Following a tight first-half the home side went into the interval at Parc y Scarlets with a narrow 6-0 lead thanks to two Aled Thomas penalties.
But they blew the game wide open after the restart as Chris Knight and captain Rob McCusker both touched down with Matthews spending ten minutes on the sidelines.
And although Kris Burton also crossed the whitewash for the visitors it was too little too late as Scarlets held on for the win.
The game was just four minutes old when Burton’s eyes lit up, the Dragons fly-half attempting a drop goal only to see it skew wide.
And just four minutes later Thomas showed him how it is done with the boot, landing his first penalty of the game after lock Adam Jones had been penalised for taking a man out in the air.
Burton has a chance to land a penalty of his own after quarter of an hour, backing himself from 45m on to see his effort fall way short of the posts.
And lightning struck twice for the visitors as just four minutes later Thomas doubled Scarlets’ lead following an offside.
Burton was short with another penalty attempt just before the half hour mark but Thomas couldn’t make him pay as he was then wayward with two attempts and the Scarlets had to settle for a narrow six-point lead at the interval.
Six mintues after the restart Burton finally had something to shout about as he landed a penalty.
But on 57 minutes the game swung back into Scarlets’ favour as Matthews was shown a yellow card and the home side made it count.
First Knight went over down the right just three minutes after Matthews had been given his marching orders, and just moments later McCusker touched down following a sensational break by Wales 7s star Knight.
Thomas was wide with the first conversion but Josh Lewis made no mistake with his and Scarlets had an 18-3 lead.
On 67 minutes Burton continued to go from zero to hero as he dotted down under the posts following Wayne Evans’ short ball, adding the extras himself to bring the Dragons to within eight points.
Rhys Jones then knocked over a penalty to bring them closer still but that was as good as it got for the visitors as Lewis added a three-pointer of his own, Scarlets surviving a late Gareth Maule yellow card to secure the win.
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