The Saints came close to scoring twice in the first half when Nathan Clyne had an excellent one-on-one chance which he sent wide and a Ricky Lambert free kick which struck the post.
It looked like Tottenham's hopes of a top four finish were going to fade away when Bale struck out of the blue, cutting in from the flank before hammering in a piledriver into the bottom corner 10 minutes from time.
Hugo Lloris - 6.5
Lloris was the busier of the two goalkeepers and did well enough to keep a clean sheet with quick reactions to prevent Davis from heading in Lambert's free kick.
Kyle Walker - 5.5
Walker's rampaging runs down the flank were ineffective with Southampton's disciplined defending while he contributed little defensively.
Michael Dawson - 7
Dawson showed how good he can be when fit. He rescued his side with a few last-ditch tackles and was assured in the air despite Lambert's presence.
Jan Vertonghen - 6.5
Vertonghen was a calm presence a the back and came out on top against Jay Rodriguez and his tricky runs.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto - 4
Assou-Ekotto roamed into the opponent half frequently with little to show and got caught out defensively with three good chances in the first half coming from holes on his flank.
Aaron Lennon (Off 59') - 5.5
Lennon seemed to lack that electrifiying pace having made a recent return from injury. He failed to get the better of a young Luke Shaw and was rightly taken off early in the second half.
Moussa Dembele (Off 35') - 6.5
Dembele was beginning to establish himself in midfield when his outing was cut short by an unfortunate injury.
Tom Huddlestone - 6.5
Huddlestone's calls for a first-team place were well-justified based on this performance. His distribution was spot-on and he helped move the ball around well even though Southampton were pressing him hard.
Clint Dempsey (Off 71') - 4.5
Dempsey hardly had a touch on the ball. His runs seemed designated to make sure he does not get involved in the action.
Gareth Bale - 7.5
It had to be Bale in the week where he bagged three awards. He was virtually anonymous for most of the game with his former side doing an excellent job in keeping him under wraps. But give this phenomenon a sight of goal and he will punish you.
Jermain Defoe - 5
Defoe found little joy up against Southampton's disciplined defenders, who sat deep to deny him space and were superior in the air.
Lewis Holtby (On 35') - 6
Holtby came on and did little wrong in midfield, but contributed little in attack too.
Emmanuel Adebayor (On 59') - 6
Adebayor added an aerial presence up front but didn't do much in front of goal.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (On 71') - 6
Sigurdsson was an improvement on Dempsey up front with more urgent running but again, did little to break down Southampton's defence.
Artur Boruc - 6
Boruc showed a few eccentric moments but was barely tested throughout the match until Bale drilled in the piledriver of a shot.
Nathan Clyne - 7
The future holds bright for Clyne. He had two great chances in the first half via bursting runs forward but could not convert under pressure and his job was helped by going up against an ineffectual Dempsey.
Jose Fonte - 7.5
Fonte was excellent in the heart of defence for the Saints, repelling all the Tottenham attacks with ease.
Jos Hooiveld - 7.5
As with Fonte, Hooiveld was calm in defence and looked up to the task of taking on Tottenham's attack.
Luke Shaw - 7.5
It isn't easy going up against Lennon in defence but Shaw looked like a seasoned pro in the game, making the right calls to make sure the winger stayed on the peripherals of the game.
Jack Cork - 7
Cork was busy breaking up play in the midfield with his hard running - it wasn't surprising to hear the commentator mention his name once every few minutes.
Steven Davis - 7
Davis was also hard at work closing down Tottenham's midfield with ceaseless running.
Gulilherme do Prado (Off 65') - 7.5
Do Prado filled in for the combative Morgan Schneiderlein with his tackles and never let Tottenham settle on the ball even in their own half. He was taken off after an injury.
Adam Lallana (Off 80') - 7.5
Lallana continued his recovery from injury with another excellent outing in the attack and was involved in almost all of Southampton's moves up front with astute through passes. The Saints always looked like scoring whenever Lallana was on the ball.
Jay Rodriguez - 6.5
Rodriguez didn't see much of the ball but made up for it by chasing down the Tottenham defenders.
Ricky Lambert - 6.5
Lambert hit the post with a free kick but failed to get into dangerous positions with Vertonghen and Dawson marshalling the defence.
Mayuka (On 65') - 6
Mayuka spent the 25 minutes on the pitch running all the time and had a few chances to play his team mates in the box but his passes let him down.
Puncheon (On 80') - N/A