The 1997-8 Eastern Floodlit Cup was the first senior trophy the newly-merged Leyton Pennant won.
As if teams didn’t play enough games (Pennant would play 60 in total that season), the first round of the competition was a group phase, where Pennant would play Hertford Town and Bishop’s Stortford home and away. The home games were won 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, while the aways were lost 1-0 and 3-1. These six points were enough to secure passage to the quarter final, where Tilbury would be the visitors to Wadham Lodge.
In a tight game, a goal from defender Tyrone Hercules was enough for Pennant to grind out a 1-0 win.
The semi-final drew Pennant against Bowers United, then in the Essex Senior League. On the 30th of April, Bowers were put to the sword by Billy Cove and Billy Read who combined for three goals with Gerry Ikazoboh coming off the bench to score a fourth.
The final was away to high-flying Braintree, who had only lost two league games on their way to the Isthmian League Division Two title, scoring 117 goals in the process.
Pennant threatened first when Che Stadhart was put clean through only to see his shot well saved and they enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first half without capitalising on their chances.
Braintree were not so wasteful and they took the lead on 20 minutes against the run of play. A corner was only half cleared and when the ball was returned into a packed penalty area it sailed over keeper Ian Brooks into the net to give Braintree the lead which they held until half time.
From the restart, Pennant looked more purposeful and they claimed their equaliser almost immediately.
It was a bizarre goal, with a left wing cross from Jason Gerraghty looking to be bouncing harmlessly through to the keeper. Suddenly the ball hit a divot and shot along the ground the keeper inexplicably took his eye off the ball and allowed it to go between his legs and trickle over the line.
Braintree responded with a period of intense pressure, with Brooks forced into action to deny them with some great saves.
With twelve minutes left the winner arrived for Pennant. Billy Cove was brought down just outside the box and Gerraghty stepped up to curl the ball home into the top corner.
Stadhart could have sealed the win seconds later, but the visitors were left to cling on for the last few minutes before jubilantly collecting their first piece of silverware.