Connacht 19-16 Aironi
CONNACHT (3) 19
- Ah You
- Nikora 3, Jarvis
AIRONI (16) 16
- Orquera 2
Matthew Jarvis landed a huge penalty with the last kick of the game to give Connacht a narrow win over Italian side Aironi.
The Irish province were trailing 16-3 at one stage after a Quintin Geldenhuys try and some fine place kicking from Luciano Orquera.
Aironi were looking for their first ever away victory, but Connacht scored 16 points in the final quarter.
Replacement prop Rodney Ah You got the home side's try in the 67th minute.
The win keeps alive Connacht's hopes of a best ever league finish of eighth.
The victory, though, looked some way off in the first half as Eric Elwood's men struggled to make any impact.
Connacht had beaten the Dragons and Ulster in recent weeks and were hoping to win three successive league fixtures for the first time in nine years.
Italian international Orquera dinked over a drop goal to give the visitors a
13th minute lead, although Miah Nikora levelled with a penalty.
Aironi scored their try in the 23rd minute when lock Geldenhuys got through, and Orquera converted before adding two penalties for a 16-3 half-time lead.
Elwood made some changes and there was a gradual improvement to Connacht's play, the first reward of which saw Nikora kick his second penalty.
He added a third seven minutes later but the home side were beginning to run out of time as the Italian side manfully defended their lead.
But, with backs and forwards combining, good hands paved the way for replacement prop Ah You to score an encouraging 67th-minute try out on the left.
The sin-binning of Joshua Furno unsettled the visitors and as Connacht applied the pressure, the defensive cracks appeared. Nikora converted to bring his side level.
Just when the draw seemed likely, a wind-assisted Jarvis, who was sprung from the bench, coolly stroked home the decisive penalty from inside his own half.