Jamie Rawlings converted two penalty corners but was unable to save Havant from a 3-2 opening National League South defeat by visiting Southgate.
A summer signing from Fareham, who had a brief spell with relegated Premier Division Reading last season, Rawlings scored both his goals in the second half, by which time Havant were already chasing the game.
They initially trailed to a 15th minute strike by John Sterlini and then minutes before the break were two goals behind through Charles Hamilton. Beaten 4-3 by Fareham in the Premier 1 cup recently, Southgate turned round 2-0 up.
A new look Havant, rejigged following the departure of a contingent of overseas players from last season, fought back strongly after the break and within four minutes of the restart were back in the game.
18-year old Polish striker Eryk Bembenek won Havant’s second corner of the game and Rawlings, who had shot narrowly wide from the first, duly converted.
Lifted, Havant enjoyed their best spell of the game, but with the next goal clearly crucial, the hosts conceded a stroke when Polish international goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski bowled over a Southgate player. Alex Williams made it 3-1 from the spot.
Havant forced two more short corners, the first of which was saved by goalkeeper Chris Rea and the second - in the 69th and last minute - was converted again by Rawlings.
Havant chairman Chris Pickett said: ‘Despite losing, one should put the result into perspective. Southgate played well and without doubt are a mature, well-drilled and experienced team that I am sure will be near the top at the end of the season.
‘Havant, after losing a high number of players, fielded a relatively young side, or certainly one with a subtle blend of experience and youth and they will take a few games to be most effective. There are plenty of positives to take into Sunday’s visit to Canterbury.
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