A number of changes were made including an worldwide debut for Sean Maguire who came on for the last eight minutes.
Wales' talisman Bale scored seven goals in 11 worldwide appearances in 2016, but is yet to find the net in three matches for his country this year. Monday's showdown in Cardiff is therefore set to decide which team goes into the play-offs and will not be a game for the faint-hearted. The chances are there for us.
However victory for either side would see them top the group if Serbia lost their final game.
He told Sky Sports: "It [the scenario ] reminds me of a year ago in the Euros when we went to Lille having to beat Italy to qualify for the last 16".
"It's there for us. So let's go for this".
A handfull of further chances would fall to the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Shane Long and Ciaran Clarke, but they would have been happy enough with their work rate into the break 2-0 up. Bale played for Wales in Dublin in March, so it is not a foregone conclusion that we will win that game - not at all. From a long throw from Stephen Ward, Daryl Murphy got a touch and finished nicely to give the crowd something to cheer and get behing early on.
"We have got other match-winners, and we showed that at Euro 2016 as well as in this qualifying campaign".
"That's what we have been very, very strong at and we will need all of that".
"The win was the most important thing".
'I didn't want to be talking about a game that's in the future when we might not get a result here.
"Obviously, he's still in my thoughts and very much so", was O'Neill's response. I felt really good actually. "But I definitely think that he is a goalscorer", he added. Maybe on another day he might have scored.
The Norwich play maker played a crucial part in last autumn's victories over Moldova and Austria, setting up James McClean for a victor against Austria, but since then he has only played 80 minutes of football in our campaign.
"You could say that Daryl Murphy takes a battering".
Another man who was wrongly ignored for large parts of this campaign was David Meyler, with Glenn Whelan regularly getting the nod ahead of him, even after a class display againt Austria early on in the competition. He might still play in The Championship, but his technique and running from deep could soon earn him a move to the Premier League, where he would gain the experience to make a difference at worldwide level.