Cornard United centre-forward Darren Bethall came on as a substitute
at half time in Norwich Reserves' 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Reserves
on 12th December 2001. Darren had previously trialled with Everton
and Cambridge, and on the 14th April 2002, the Non-League Paper
reported that he was to trial with Charlton and play for their
second string against Watford on 17th April. Darren came to Charlton's
attention with 27 goals in 26 games for Cornard. Wycombe Wanderers
were also said to be watching Darren's progress. Darren then spent
some of the 2002 pre-season training at the Valley with Charlton.
Darren scored twice in Cornard's FA Vase victory over Desborough
Town on 21st September 2002. His second goal saw him take the
ball from the halfway line through the entire Desborough defence
to score. Cornard manager Chris Symes said "This was something
George Best said he would like to do, to take the ball from the
kick-off through the entire defence and score. It's there in his
book.". This was Darren's 9th goal of the season so far and
has gained him the attention again of Football League clubs. Symes'
friendly relationship with Preston manager Craig Brown has seen
Darren invited to train at Deepdale and play for their reserves
in the week commencing 30th September. The following week, he
joined Oxford United and turned out for their second string.
In December 2002, Ryman Leaguers Wivenhoe signed Bethell despite
competition from Braintree. They paid Cornard a fee for Bethell's
signature and included a generous sell-on clause. Darren made
his debut on 14th December at East Thurrock United and scored
on his debut. Darren returned to Cornard in October 2003.
In June 2005, Darren joined AFC Sudbury along with Mark
Roper and Paul Rutherford - In
March 2005, Darren returned to Wivenhoe albeit on loan. Returning
to Sudbury at the end of the season, he was placed on the transfer-list
in May 2006.
Darren later joined Halstead Town but rejoined Wivenhoe in December
Darren returned to AFC Sudbury for an undisclosed fee in March
2008. By February 2010, he had signed for Needham Market. In the
2009/10 season, Needham Market won both the Ridgeons League and
the Ridgeons Challenge Cup
In the autumn of 2010, Darren joined Ridgeons League rivals Leiston