IT was a nightmare start to the New Year for Kendal Town as they slumped to a 4-0 defeat against BetVictor League relegation rivals Widnes at The Halton Stadium.

Town were outplayed by the hosts on an afternoon to forget as Anointed Chukwa’s hat trick and a goal by Rhian Hellawell edged the Mintcakes nearer to the relegation trap door.

And unlike their Boxing Day defeat by Colne, Steve Edmondson's side offered very little in front of a sparse crowd of 94, who saw a determined Widnes team ease past a Town side who had held them to a 0-0 draw in the return fixture earlier this season.

Widnes signalled their intent after just two minutes when Chukwa headed past visiting keeper Morgan Bacon after getting onto the end of a good delivery by Shaun Holden.

And within 13 minutes, the home side made it 2-0 in bizarre fashion as the Mintcakes' defence stopped playing, assuming the flag had gone up for offside, leaving Chukwa to stroll through and roll the ball past Bacon.

Kendal continued to toil with Widnes creating further opportunities, Jackson Hulme making a last ditch challenge to deny James Steele before Steele forced a good save from Bacon soon after.

And Town went 3-0 up on 27 minutes when Hellawell capitalised on a poor clearance by Michael Hodgson and scored from close range.

Kendal briefly came to life in the closing minutes of the first half, Emil Jaaskelainen firing a free kick over the bar then blazing over four minutes later following on from a good cross by Aaron Fleming.

Widnes controlled the second half and almost added to their tally when Chukwa fending off two defenders before seeing his powerful strike hit the post.

Kendal’s only real opportunity of the second half fell to Kieran Maguire but the former Workington player fired his effort wide from close range.

And the fourth goal finally did arrive when Chukwa converted a spot kick to round off a miserable start to 2020 for the Mintcakes.