VICS' players showed they will not be counted out as they got up off the canvas to kill off Kendal Town inside 45 minutes on Saturday.

After a 'difficult' week of twists and turns left them 22 points behind Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division North title rivals Warrington Town, a hat-trick from Richie Bennett and a brace from skipper Mike Clarke, including a penalty, concluded a whirlwind opening half in Cumbria.

They also overcame the setback of losing Iain Howard to a calf niggle in the warm-up.

"To come away from the Warrington game last Saturday on such a high after not only the win but the performance, and then to get hit with a nine-point deduction the day after was harsh on the players," said Vics manager Adam Lakeland.

"We then had a difficult game on Tuesday night in the Cheshire  FA Senior Cup semi-final at Stockport which again, physically and mentally, took a lot out of them.

"So Saturday was a case of putting all of that behind us, focusing on the remaining league games and using all of these ‘hurdles’ we’ve faced in recent weeks as our motivation for the rest of the season."

More so than the five goals, Lakeland's applause came for the defensive showing.

"The thing I was absolutely delighted with and the biggest positive was the clean sheet," he said.

"I feel like we have defended well as a team in the last four games but haven’t quite managed to get a clean sheet through a couple of errors, misfortune and quality from the respective opponents.

"So to focus for the full 90 minutes was important for us.

"Keeping clean sheets isn’t easy, its a collective thing; each player from back to front plays their part in keeping the opposition to ‘nil’ so I expect to see us working as we have done in recent games and I’m sure more will follow."

Lakeland said Vics had spoken of achieving a fast start in Cumbria.

"Kendal are going through a bit of a transitional period at the moment and have introduced a lot more young, local lads into their team who we knew would work hard and fight for them so we spoke about the importance of us starting the game quickly," he added.

"We worked the ball into the forwards early and played off them well in the first half, picking up second balls allowing us to create numerous chances which then led to us scoring our five goals.

"It was a fantastic hat-trick from Richie (Bennett) who looked a constant threat and I was delighted for Clarkie (Michael Clarke) to get a couple of goals as well.

"I think it was important for us to score a penalty after missing four in a row so it took nerve and concentration for him to convert from the spot which he did superbly and his second, a header from Brian Summerskill's corner, was also of equal quality.

"Brian wasn’t due to start the game but I thought he did very well and got three assists which was pleasing."

Summerskill delivered the ball for Bennett's first and third goals plus the corner for Clarke's second, adding to his delivery from the corner in which Clarke scored the winner against Warrington.

Lakeland said: "He is making an impact on the team which is what I expect from him."

Kendal | Kitchen (GK), Aspin, Thomas, McDonald, Freeland, Robson, Bailey (Breslin 86), Forbes (Towers 76), Newby, Bailey, Bondswell (Helliwell 76)  Subs not used Hoctor, Wardle

Vics | Springthorpe (GK), Byrne (Cook 62), Krou, Clarke, Regan, Duxbury, Ball, Roddy (Russell 73), Bennett (Amis 62), Burnett Subs not used King (GK), Watson

Attendance 127