Secs moldova video
The Moldova captain was duly booked as Bale rose gingerly to his feet, but the challenge seemed to stir the hosts as Alexandru Dedov and Artur Ionita tried their luck from distance.
But Wales were almost ahead after 19 minutes when a quick break-out saw Tom Lawrence set up Bale from 20 yards and goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu failed to hold the shot.
However, there is no disguising the fact that they will need to be significantly better in Austria next month and for the tougher tests which lie ahead if they are to maintain that start.
O’Neill had been at pains to insist there are no easy games in international football in the modern era, but his players set about the task of proving him wrong with less than two minutes on the clock.
"The three guys from Moldova see no challenges ahead, as they get ready to kick off their first rehearsal: "For us it’s very important to have a very good rehearsal, to check the sound and to work, work, work — that’s all." Their performance is promised to be funny, but the novelties are kept secret.
Despite suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of ADO Den Haag on Saturday, 25-year-old Sparta Rotterdam keeper Roy Kortsmit was still a hero after producing an amazing quadruple save to keep the visitors in the match 10 minutes after half-time.
A concerted response was required and it started almost immediately with Mc Clean getting his head to a Jonathan Walters cross, but failing to trouble Calancea, who then had to field Hoolahan’s skidding 54th-minute shot.
Sparta Rotterdam will be looking to secure their second win of the season on Sunday when bottom of the table Roda JC Kerkrade travel to the Sparta Stadion Het Kasteel on matchday seven.
James Mc Clean ensured the Republic of Ireland’s trip to Moldova did not end in embarrassment as he struck twice in quick succession to secure a 3-1 victory in Chisinau.
Ireland flew out of the blocks and were ahead within 116 seconds as Shane Long ended an 18-game drought for club and country.
The win lifted Wales into second place in Group D after the Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Serbia, who are now firm favourites to top the pool But Wales will now be expected to at least take the runners-up spot, with the probable reward being a play-off place.
Wales - wearing a new all-yellow change strip to avoid a kit clash - famously lost in Chisinau in 1994 when Moldova celebrated their first game competitive fixture as an independent nation following the break up of the old Soviet Union.