Now five points behind Wakefield and Salford with just seven games to play, the Vikings will have to achieve some unlikely results if they are to survive.
"Maybe we're not up to it,'' the Widnes coach said. "We fall apart when we need to win most. I can't make any excuses. It was an absolutely disastrous result for us.''
All Widnes' familiar failings were on display in the first half as they enjoyed an abundance of possession, largely thanks to a glut of penalties, but never looked like doing anything with it.
Wakefield were by far the more incisive side, although the pass from Colum Halpenny that gave Sam Obst his first try after five minutes looked distinctly forward. Widnes could not even capitalise when David March was sent to the sin-bin for holding down in the tackle.
When Wakefield were back up to their full complement, it was David Solomona - a player with a repertoire of skills Widnes could only dream about - who put them firmly in control before half-time.
First he barged over from close range, and then a sublime dummy opened up the vestiges of the Widnes defence for Semi Tadulala to score.
Obst then took a return pass from Ben Jeffries to race away for a try more reminiscent of a summer sevens tournament and Widnes went off to the sound of booing from some of their supporters.
Those fans were streaming out of the Halton Stadium when Tadulala completed a 14-minute hat-trick with two tries at the start of the second half.
Far too late, that spurred Widnes into action on two fronts. Gray Viane scored two carbon-copy tries from Simon Finnigan passes and, in between, the game erupted, after Shane Millard had taken out Olivier Elima off the ball, into a prolonged brawl which ended with four players - Mark Smith and John Stankevitch of Widnes and Wakefield's Michael Korkidas and March for the second time - in the sin-bin.
Sala Fa'alogo scored for Widnes before Viane completed his hat-trick, but Jeffries' try kept Wakefield well ahead. They can almost relax now in the knowledge that they will be in the Super League next season.
"I was confident I could keep Wakefield up and I'm confident I'll get the job,'' said Tony Smith, who was given three games to show why he should be Trinity's next coach and has now won two of them.
Widnes: Holmes; Emelio, Whittle, Fa'alogo, Viane; Jules O'Neill, Hulse; O'Connor, Millard, Stankevitch, Cassidy, Frame, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Julian O'Neill, Smith, Myler, Whitaker.
Wakefield: Halpenny; Wainwright, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala; Jeffries, Obst; Griffin, March, Korkidas, Solomona, MacGillivray, Field. Substitutes used: Rooney, Wrench, Elima, Snitch.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).Reuse content