FOR a while now, refugees from the war-ravaged Middle Eastern country of Syria have been resettled around the globe giving them a respite from the suffering and the chance to start a new life.

Some of those refugees have settled in Somerset, and this weekend joined together to mix with the local community and take part in a friendly football match on the astroturf at Bridgwater’s Northgate School.

Their opponents were a team from Bridgwater drawn from all walks of life including former mayor of Bridgwater Bill Monteith between the sticks, town council leader Brian Smedley leading the line upfront and even a cameo from town clerk and former Bridgwater Town star Alan Hurford.

Playing in front of a small crowd of rather cold supporters, the game was started by the mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Diogo Rodrigues kicking the ball to the Syrian side in their blue kits to get the game underway.

The match proved to be a rather even affair with the Syrian side taking the lead early on, before being pegged back by Bridgwater just before half time.

The second half saw Bridgwater pull away thanks to two neat goals, the first tucked away neatly by the youngest player on the pitch, 14-year-old Josh Hickling, and the third scored with a thumping finish by striker Brian Smedley.

The Syrians had a spell of pressure toward the end and pulled back a consolation goal to make it 3-2 with the last kick of the game.

After the game both sides headed to the mayor’s parlour for some well-earned refreshments.

Cllr Smedley, who helped organise the game, said: “The outcome was a fun day of international friendship, and a warm welcome to Westover for our Syrian friends.”