It was Southampton who dominated the first period, but neither side could make the breakthrough as it remained goalless at the interval.
The Saints continued to enjoy most of the possession in the second period, but a thunderbolt from Bale in the latter stages secured a vital win for Spurs.
Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two sides.
On target: 1
On target: 3
Was the result fair?
In a word, no. Southampton were desperately unlucky to leave White Hart Lane without any points this afternoon. The Saints were much the better team in the first period and also enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages of the second. However, they were made to regret missed opportunities, with their former hero striking a fabulous winner in the latter stages.
Andre Villas-Boas's side may have picked up all three points this afternoon, but there will not be too many people singing their praises. In truth, the capital outfit were second best all afternoon. Even when they entered the final 10 minutes, there was no real urgency or willingness to force the issue. However, points are all that matter at this stage of the season.
The Saints were desperately unlucky to suffer defeat this afternoon. The former Championship outfit displayed their passing ability throughout the 90 minutes, while they were also stern and compact in defence. Had they taken their chances, which mostly came in the first period, it would have been a different story at White Hart Lane.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Steven Davis: The Southampton midfielder may not be the most cultured player in the Premier League, but he kept his side ticking over this afternoon. Not only was the former Rangers man neat and tidy in possession, he was prepared to do his defensive duties when required.
Biggest gaffe of the match
Nathaniel Clyne had a wonderful chance to send Southampton into the lead in the early stages, but somehow the right-back fired wide of the target from close range. Ultimately, it played a part in costing his side a share of the spoils.
Mark Clattenburg had a very productive 90 minutes of action this afternoon. The official was forced to deal with a number of late challenges in the first period, but was prepared to let the game flow in the correct areas. He was less involved in the second period, but Spurs will feel that they should have been awarded a penalty late on when Bale was seemingly fouled in the box.
Spurs: Tottenham face arguably their biggest match of the season when they travel to Chelsea next Wednesday.
Southampton: The Saints will attempt to return to winning ways when they travel to struggling Sunderland next weekend.