A WANT-AWAY full-back who slapped in a transfer request on Wednesday and a goalkeeper who was suspended for two weeks until Thursday for alleged breaches of discipline and a poor attitude to training.

Both start. Both turn in commanding and commendable performances. Cherries remain, deservedly yet still unthinkably, in the League One play-off shake-up.

But while the sterling efforts of Wiggins and Stewart went a long way towards repairing their relationships with the supporters, that wasn’t the whole story behind this clash, which proved once again just what a unique and gripping season this has been for Cherries.

Yes, more unique than last season’s against-all-odds promotion and, yes, more unique than the previous campaign’s Greatest Escape.

Back on the opening day of the season at The Valley, Cherries fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst as they delicately got to grips with a return to League One.

A big, Premier League-standard stadium in the capital, a squad boasting the experience of Christian Dailly and Gary Doherty and the pace and youthful endeavour of Scott Wagstaff and Kyel Reid all hinted that Cherries’ return to the third tier would not be a bed of roses. And then the two teams kicked off.

Run ragged during a frenetic opening period, Eddie Howe’s side were like League Two lambs to the slaughter that day.

Fast forward to the business end of this season, however, and Chris Powell’s men would bite the hands off every one of Lee Bradbury’s work-horses to be in their position right now.

Like Leeds United before them, Charlton are facing the prospect of an unwanted extended stay in League One, hurried and busied by the supporters who desperately crave the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea at The Valley once more.

Cherries, on the other hand, could be able to boast back-to-back promotions come June. What a laughable thought that would have been at the beginning of August, yet it is still very much possible.

The finances, resources and rookie management duo might tell one story, but the table does not lie and Powell will know his strugglers came up against genuine promotion contenders on Saturday.

He will also know his players were lucky beyond belief to escape Dorset with a point to show for their efforts.

On another day, and following a final five minutes where the kitchen sink, fridge, washing machine and fixtures and fittings were all thrown with venom at the visiting defence, Bradbury’s troops could have won 8-2.

But to the previous 85 minutes first and Bradbury’s two brave pre-match decisions.

The first was to plump for Stewart over Dan Thomas in the absence of Shwan Jalal. The former Weymouth keeper had not trained with the squad for a fortnight after serving his two-week suspension.

The second was to throw Wiggins, who had asked for a transfer on Wednesday, in front of 7,000 unimpressed Cherries fans.

Both were justified, with Wiggins keeping danger man Wagstaff quiet for large periods and Stewart denying Therry Racon in the first half and Wright-Phillips after the break with two stunning saves.

Wiggins also linked well with Marc Pugh down the left, the latter breaking a 10-game goal drought by restoring parity following Wagstaff’s controversial opener on 28 minutes.

Former Cherries loanee Wagstaff bundled home from close range after Stewart had parried Frank Nouble’s initial shot, but Bradbury’s players were convinced the winger had used his hand to apply the final touch. Their appeals fell on deaf ears, although replays on the Football League Show appeared to show the appeals were justified.

But the lead was short-lived, with Pugh on hand to head home from inside the six-yard box two minutes later after Racon’s poor clearance had been pushed on to the crossbar by Rob Elliot.

After Steve Fletcher’s volley had been bundled off the line by Wagstaff following one of many testing Wiggins corners, Danny Hollands capped a magnificent individual display by handing Cherries the lead just before the hour.

Hollands’s deflected effort came after an intense period of pressure from Bradbury’s men – and there was more to come, but not until Wright-Phillips, and referee Mark Haywood, had taken their share of the limelight.

Wright-Phillips drilled home from 18 yards eight minutes from time, but Haywood missed Dailly going through the back of substitute Jayden Stockley in the build-up.

What followed was purely and simply a barrage from the home side, with substitute Danny Ings right in the thick of it.

Firstly, Ings burst clear of the Addicks’ back line in the closing stages only to fall over the ball, before the young frontman was denied by Elliot’s last-ditch save and Pugh smashed the follow-up against the bar.

Elliot again made Ings wince right at the death when he beat away the 18-year-old’s follow-up shot after his first effort had been cleared off the line by Racon.

Jose Semedo’s block also kept Ings at bay, while Stockley’s header narrowly flew wide moments before Haywood signalled full-time after a ludicrous seven minutes of stoppage time.

And breathe…