It seems like only yesterday that Ashley Hodson made her senior debut under Matt Beard in 2014.
Now, at 26, she has passed friend and former teammate Gemma Bonner for the all time Women’s record with 116 appearances, receiving the honor at the September 26th match against Crystal Palace - a match that she also later scored in to give the Reds the lead.
Now a fantastic run has put Liverpool Women in second place in the Championship, two points behind leaders Durham, and Hodson gives the credit to the manager that gave her her start.
“We have found a bit of consistency now in our performances and I think we are building on what Matt is implementing,” Hodson told the club website.
“Obviously, we know it’s going to take a little bit to gel in what he wants us to do, but I think we are starting to do that now consistently.
“The new signings have all settled in really well. Matt has brought in a really good group of not only good players but good people as well and I think that is showing on the pitch with our performances.”
One of the most effective signing has been Irish attacker Leanne Kiernan, supporting this good run with her four goals in three outings. Impressive to not only the fans, but Hodson herself.
“Leanne has been outstanding, especially in the last few games,” added Hodson.
“She has been consistent all season and now she’s really coming into form, scoring goals and she’s a really important player for us.”
The real focus for the entire squad is ensuring that one and only spot for promotion goes to the Reds, after losing out last season to Leicester City, and the confidence they’re building will go a long way towards making that happen.
“We lacked consistency last season and I think that could be the key to us getting to where we want to be, come the end of the season,” Hodson continued.
“Leicester City last season were consistent throughout the season and got promoted, and that is what we are looking to do this year.”
The key to that consistency? The systems and mentality that manager Matt Beard is working to instill in the Women. Even with Hodson’s fond memories of playing underneath him as a young debutante, the midfielder is supportive as the most senior member of the squad.
“I love working with Matt and we have got a really good relationship off the pitch as well as on it. He wants the best for all of his players and I think everybody can see that. It’s really good to be back working with him,” Hodson said.
“Everybody wants to do their bit and it has been nice to get a couple of goals, but we all want to do our best to chip in.
“This is the best I’ve felt in a while and the most confident as well. We have got a great group of people here and Matt has shown a lot of confidence in us all and I think that is really showing on the pitch.
“Even when I was out injured, I still felt like I did my bit to help the team and everybody new that comes into the club, I’m always looking to welcome them with open arms. We all get on so well.”
Despite being a league title winner with the club back in 2014, one of Hodson’s proudest moments is always playing in front of the fans and knowing that she’s been able to stick around while others have had to move on.
“That was really special,” Hodson said of the record. “People kept telling me I was close to it but I was just taking each game as it comes because you know in football different things can happen, but I’m really proud of that.
“I’ve been at this club since I was 15. This is all I have wanted to do and hopefully there’s more great moments to come.”
The next moment will be the match against Lewes on Sunday, October 31st, that will hopefully have more treats for the fans than tricks. The Reds will play at Prenton Park and have loads of ways to make the most of the day as they turn out to support the Women.
“We love playing in front of our fans at Prenton Park and they really help us,” said Hodson.
“Lewes is going to be a tough game and we don’t underestimate any team in this league because anybody can take points off each other.
“Lewes put in a really good performance against Charlton and got the win, so we know how tough this game is going to be.
“But with our brilliant fans behind us we know they can make that difference you need to get it over the line. Our fans can definitely play a massive part for us this season.
“They really get behind the girls and we all have our individual songs and it’s really good when you are out on the pitch to be able to feel that atmosphere.”
Hodson herself has a song sung to the tune of She Loves You by The Beatles (personally, my favorite player song), if anyone is unfamiliar with songs sung at Women’s matches.
“It’s really catchy and sometimes when I go home that song is stuck in my head,” she said with a laugh.
“It’s a good song and I love the fact they have a song for all of the players.”
The match on Sunday will be streamed so everyone can get the chance to watch our Red Women continue their march towards promotion, Ashley Hodson (yeah, yeah, yeaah) included.