Dan Parks kicked a late drop goal and penalty to guide Connacht to a battling 23-19 RaboDirect PRO12 win over Zebre at the Sportsground.
Eoin McKeon's first try for the province had Connacht ahead within two minutes, and Gavin Duffy also touched down for a 14-3 lead.
But only a point separated the sides at the break, with Paolo Buso kicking his second penalty and converting Leonardo Sarto's 31st-minute try.
Parks and Buso swapped penalties before a 71st-minute penalty from Gonzalo Garcia had the Italians within touching distance of their first victory.
However, despite being below par, Connacht showed their resilience as Parks' right boot ensured they finished on top at the end of a competitive encounter.