WHAT a difference a year makes - tell that to York City striker Ryan Jarvis.
One year ago the 28-year-old Jarvis crowned his Minstermen debut with a last-gasp winning goal to open the season with three points against Northampton at an ecstatic Bootham Crescent.
Tomorrow Northampton are again the first visitors to City’s home for a new campaign - albeit after last week’s 1-1 draw at Tranmere and the midweek Capital One Cup loss to Doncaster Rovers - and Jarvis is out of action.
The former Norwich, Colchester and Torquay marksman, who figured in City’s opening two games, saw his season come to a premature halt when he suffered an ankle injury in the final quarter of the 1-0 cup loss to the men from the Keepmoat Stadium.
The early prognosis was that Jarvis would be absent for at least a fortnight ruling out his hope to get off the mark again against tomorrow’s visitors.
With close-season signing Jake Hyde still nursing an injury sustained in one of the last pre-season training sessions, and last term’s top sharp-shooter Wes Fletcher still on the road back from a five-month absence after cartilage and ligament damage to a knee, the setback for Jarvis is both a damaging one for City as well as the man who arrived at York from Torquay last summer.
Ahead of the Doncaster game, Jarvis recalled that August 3 day of 2013 when he capped his City debut so dramatically.
“It wasn’t a classic goal, but it was vital in that it got us the win on the first day of the season which is always important as you always want to get points on the board as quickly as possible,” said Jarvis.
“For me it was a great start too in that it set me off on a really good run of scoring.”
Indeed, that winner against Northampton started a run of goals that quickly took him to the top of the City and also the League Two scoring charts through the autumn of the campaign.
But after he reached nine, injury struck again. On his return to the first team the striker was never able to attain those early season heights again, his predatory power - declared by manager Nigel Worthington to be among the best at the club - going awry.
Before his latest setback, Jarvis had been heartened by both performances against the Rovers of Tranmere and Doncaster, even though his wish to open his account had been stymied in both games.
“We played some great stuff against higher opposition during our pre-season and we did the same again once the season started,” he said.
“We were all disappointed by Tranmere’s late equaliser last Saturday, but we did get a great point against a team that has only just come down from League One. The first League game is out of the way now and we have got a point on the board, which is vital.”
The downside for Jarvis now is that he will have to wait a little longer before getting the chance to weigh in with his first strike.
“That opening goal of the season is what every striker wants - to get off the mark as early as possible to get you flying and allow you to look forward to all the other games with even more confidence.”