But Gloucester did go over four minutes later when wing Lesley Vainikolo burst through before offloading to centre Tim Molenaar who found Qera on the overlap to score in the corner. Robinson converted.
That spurred on the Dragons, who immediately went on the attack.
They thought they had managed a quick reply through Luke Charteris, but the lock's effort was ruled out by the video referee for not grounding the ball.
It did not matter though as from the resulting scrum, fly-half Arlidge went under the posts for his first Heineken Cup try, before converting himself.
Joe Bearman puts the Dragons ahead with their second try
And within five minutes, the visitors got their second try when Wayne Evans set up number eight Bearman to go over, with Arlidge converting to give the Dragons a 14-7 half-time lead.
Gloucester showed more urgency on the ball after the restart and Robinson was able to reduce the deficit to one point with two quick penalties.
After 54 minutes, the former Cardiff Blues outside-half put the home side ahead with his third penalty of the half after Aled Brew was caught offside.
But after doing the hard work of getting themselves back in the game, the home side were undone within minutes.
They thought they had escaped when Arlidge's long-range penalty hit the post, but he made amends moments later after a Rory Lawson error to edge the Dragons back in front at 17-16.
Gloucester could have been back in front with 15 minutes to go when the Dragons went in from the side, only for Robinson's luck to run out when he sent his penalty wide.
But they did not give up and piled on the pressure in the closing stages, eventually winning a penalty for an offside and Robinson made no mistake this time to land the winning kick.
Dragons coach Paul Turner: "That was a Gloucester side that was there to be beaten and we didn't quite have enough.
"At half-time we were in a good position but we lost both props at half-time.
"We lost the kicking game and lost the scraps in the contest. I think Nicky [Robinson] did that for them in the second half."
Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath: "I have been very critical during the past two or three weeks.
"We've got to keep plugging away and hope that we get some continuity in our game. You have just got to dig in.
"We dug in tonight, and we can take some credit for that. We have won our last two games without being pretty."
Gloucester: Voyce, Sharples, Simpson-Daniel, Molenaar, Vainikolo, Robinson, R. Lawson, Delve, Qera, Strokosch, Brown, Attwood, Somerville, S. Lawson, Dickinson. Replacements: May for Sharples (72), Lewis for R. Lawson (67), Hazell for Delve (71), James for Brown (23), Doran-Jones for Somerville (71), Capdevielle for Dickinson (58). Not Used: Dawidiuk, Burns.
Dragons: Tovey, Brew, Riley, Smith, Fussell, Arlidge, W. Evans, Bearman, G. Thomas, Lydiate, Charteris, Sidoli, Hall, S. Jones, McKenzie. Replacements: M. Thomas for Tovey (52), Connor for Arlidge (75), Lee for W. Evans (69), MacDonald for Lydiate (64), Gustafson for Hall (40), Bracken for McKenzie (40). Not Used: Goodfield, L. Evans.
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