CHERRIES today put the finishing touches to their fairytale season by being crowned champions of the Football League for the first time in their history.

A 3-0 victory for Eddie Howe’s team against Charlton at The Valley, coupled with a dramatic draw for rivals Watford, saw the trophy end up in Dorset.

Cherries, who had a Harry Arter goal sandwiched between two from Matt Ritchie, appeared to be heading for runners-up spot after dominating against the Addicks.

However, a late leveller by Sheffield Wednesday’s Atdhe Nuhiu at Vicarage Road saw Howe’s men wrest the title from the Hornets in stunning fashion.

As news of Wednesday’s late equaliser filtered through, Cherries supporters celebrated, while Charlton fans were gracious with their applause.

Promoted on six previous occasions, Cherries had only ever won one championship – under Harry Redknapp in 1987.

But Howe marked his third promotion in five seasons by sealing Cherries’ place in the Premier League with the silverware.

Simon Francis returned to the starting line-up after sitting out the 3-0 win over Bolton due to a one-match suspension, while Ryan Allsop replaced Lee Camp on the bench.

Cherries made a flying start and raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 12 minutes courtesy of goals from Matt Ritchie and Harry Arter.

Ritchie drew first blood when he finished with accuracy before Addicks old boy Arter capitalised on a mistake to double their lead.

Yann Kermorgant, who received a warm welcome from Charlton supporters on his return to The Valley, fired an early free-kick straight at the wall.

Kermorgant then provided the assist for Callum Wilson to try his luck, only for Stephen Henderson’s smart reaction save to thwart the Cherries striker.

The Frenchman was in the thick of the action during the early stages and lifted his shot high over the crossbar following a well-worked corner routine.

Cherries broke the deadlock after 10 minutes when Ritchie finished a superb team move by rifling home his 14th goal of the season.

Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels were both involved at the start before Marc Pugh found Kermorgant just inside the 18-yard box.

And he rolled the ball invitingly into the path of Ritchie who picked his spot in the bottom corner and saw his effort cannon in off the post.

Cherries doubled their lead just two minutes later when Arter seized on an error at the back by Yoni Buyens before drilling the ball past Henderson.

Roger Johnson’s block prevented Wilson from adding a third soon after before the Addicks defender’s timely tackle on the striker saw another attack thwarted.

Cherries, who dominated for long periods during the first half, saw Simon Francis’s low 25-yarder fizz past the upright before Andrew Surman curled an effort over the crossbar on the stroke of half-time.

Sublime skill from Ritchie saw him neatly control a crossfield pass from Cook before cleverly lifting the ball over the head of his marker.

And after the Scottish international had taken aim, his shot looped off Johnson and came back off the crossbar early in the second half.

A flurry of Cherries pressure ended with Kermorgant’s shot being charged down before an effort from Daniels flashed across the face of the goalmouth.

Charlton, having used their full quota of substitutes, saw striker Tony Watt hobble out of the action with 16 minutes remaining.

Kermorgant received a standing ovation from both sets of supporters as he made way for Kenwyne Jones eight minutes from time.

Ritchie’s persistence paid off as he added to Cherries’ advantage in the 85th minute, the winger poking home after his first shot had been blocked.

Cherries: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Pugh (Smith, 68), Surman, Arter (Gosling, 61), Ritchie, Kermorgant (Jones, 82), Wilson.

Unused subs: Fraser, Pitman Ward, Allsop (g/k).

Addicks: Henderson, Solly, Johnson, Ben Haim, Fox, Gudmundsson, Diarra (Gomez, 68), Buyens, Bulot (Eagles, 68), Vetokele (Church, 39), Watt.

Unused subs: Bikey, Wiggins, Lennon, Etheridge (g/k).

Booked: Johnson, Diarra.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Attendance: 21,280.