Billy Bricknell converted Aiden Palmer’s cross two minutes before the break as Lee Sawyer’s second penalty in two games looked to put the game beyond doubt at half-time.
Havant made for a nervy finish when Matt Paterson lobbed the on-rushing Christian Dibble from inside the area, their first away goal of the season, before Brian Stock’s wonder goal drew the sides level.
Chelmsford made just one change to the side that beat Maidstone United with defender Aiden Palmer replacing the impressive Jonah Gosling. Manager Mark Hawkes opted to keep with the successful 3-5-2 formation from Monday, meaning Mark Haines made his 200th appearance alongside Rory McAuley and Marvin Ekpiteta at the back.
The Clarets started energetically – buoyed by their back-to-back wins – with Hugo Skepelhorn winning an early corner off Dan Strugnell. Lee Sawyer’s set-piece was teasing but Marvin Morgan managed to clear it away.
And it was Morgan who then initiated the counter-attack before eventually shooting at goal himself, only an outstretched glove from Dibble denying him an early opener.
With Havant having arrived in Essex at 2:40pm due to heavy traffic, a shaky and nervy start would’ve perhaps been excusable, although that wasn’t exactly the case as they showed promise in the early stages.
The hosts almost gained an advantage though with some intricate play between Skepelhorn, Bricknell and Mark Hughes, although Luke Daley’s cross from the right was picked off by Havant as City worked their way into the match through encouraging pressing play.
It was the Hawks’ right-back Harry Medway who then inflicted brief panic for the City defence when he hooked in a cross, but McAuley stood strong to block Morgan’s effort on the turn.
One of the Clarets’ strengths from their Bank Holiday Monday victory was the organised defence and the back three appeared to be in similar form during the first-half with McAuley leading his men in customary fashion.
City were then presented with the chance they longed for after Lee Sawyer was hauled to the floor by Brian Stock on the left. They failed to capitalise, however, with the Havant defence heading away the danger comfortably.
Luke Daley let fly on a shot that was always dipping but had too much pace on it to truly threaten.
Havant’s Adrian Clifton looked the most likely to break City down with pace as the first-half drew to a close, but it was Matt Paterson who made Dibble work. The loanee ‘keeper stood strong to his effort from just outside the area with the save proving crucial.
Hughes hit a post after good work by Billy Bricknell on the right before the latter broke the deadlock two minutes prior to the break. Aiden Palmer brought the ball down perfectly inside the area and, with no Havant player around him, had time to spot Bricknell who netted his fourth goal of the season, hammering home past Ryan Young.
That wasn’t the end of the action though as in first-half stoppage time Hugo Skepelhorn won a penalty following a clumsy challenge from Manny Monthe. Lee Sawyer stepped up for his second penalty in two games to give the Clarets a valuable two goal lead and alter the complexion of the match.
City were not content with their two goal advantage and looked for a third after the interval with Skepelhorn bursting forward, only to be fouled by Brian Stock. Lee Sawyer failed to make the free-kick count as Monthe cleared his delivery away, and then Marvin Ekpiteta thwarted the counter-attack that followed.
Havant then had a penalty turned down after Paterson was blocked off inside the area before Scott Donnelly, who has always performed well against the Clarets, tested Dibble from range with the City ‘keeper’s fingertips retaining the host’s two-goal advantage.
Bricknell then teed-up Skepelhorn for a rampaging run on the right but after turning Medway and Strugnell saw his shot held by Young.
The comeback started when Paterson punished the Clarets’ defence after they were caught on the back foot, lobbing Dibble from inside the area after the 'keeper rushed off his line. It was a well-taken finish from the front man who was kept quiet for the majority of the match.
And the Clarets were left to rue their failure to net a third when Brian Stock levelled with 13-minutes remaining. The midfielder picked the ball up from range before hammering an unstoppable shot past Dibble to equalise.
City sat back to protect their lead prior to those goals and will be left thinking that they should’ve tried to net another to wrap up a third straight win.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and credit to Havant for hauling themselves back when the odds looked against them at half-time.
On paper, seven points from the last three games is promising form although the manner in which this point came will be of a disappointment to the hosts.
1. Christian Dibble
2. Mark Haines
3. Aiden Palmer
4. Mark Hughes (C)
5. Rory McAuley
6. Marvin Ekpiteta
7. Luke Daley
8. Harry Morgan
9. Billy Bricknell
10. Hugo Skepelhorn
11. Lee Sawyer
12. Moses Makasi (On for Harry Morgan, 68’)
14. Tomi Adeloye (On for Hugo Skepelhorn, 86’)
15. Marvel Ekpiteta
16. Mason Bloomfield
17. Laurence Vaughan
Havant & Waterlooville:
1. Ryan Young (C)
2. Harry Medway
3. Warren Cummings
4. Brian Stock
5. Dan Strugnell
6. Manny Monthe
7. James Hayter
8. Scott Donnelley
9. Matt Paterson
10. Marvin Morgan
11. Adrian Clifton
12. Brian Dutton
14. Daniel Blanchett
15. Nic Ciardini (On for James Hayter, 86’)
16. Ben Swallow (On for Marvin Morgan, 86’)
17. Rod Young
Referee: Mr Lee Betts (Norwich)
Assistant referees: Mr Shon Meale & Mr Jonathan Block
Bookings: Chelmsford City: Mark Haines (48’, professional foul)
Havant & Waterlooville: Manny Monthe (74’, foul), Harry Medway (76’, foul)
Scorers: Chelmsford City: Billy Bricknell (43’), Lee Sawyer (45+2’, penalty)
Havant & Waterlooville: Matt Paterson (64’), Brian Stock (77’)
HT score: 2-0
FT score: 2-2
City Man of the Match: Hugo Skepelhorn