Euro 2016: Malcolm Allen spared Wales blushes in Israel

Malcolm Allen
Euro 2016 qualifier: Israel v Wales
Venue: Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa Date: 28 March, 2015 Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website

Malcolm Allen has mixed memories of the goal he scored for Wales in a friendly against Israel in April 1989.

The then Norwich City striker came off the bench to secure a late 3-3 draw for Terry Yorath's side in Tel Aviv.

Allen might well have spared Welsh blushes that day with a stunning volley but his goal celebrations left him red-faced.

"I fell straight flat on my face," Allen recalls.

"Instead of the players celebrating with me I was still on the floor and they were laughing.

"You never forget your goals for Wales, but the way I fell was hilarious. Everyone in the stadium was laughing."

Wales face Israel once again in a Euro 2016 qualifier this Saturday and return to a country where they last played 26 years ago during the reign of Terry Yorath.

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Welsh fans can make a difference - Allen

Yorath had been appointed Wales' part-time manager a year earlier and the side were halfway through what would ultimately be an unsuccessful 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Allen had made his debut three earlier against Saudi Arabia but found himself behind Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and Dean Saunders in the pecking order.

Even with Liverpool's Rush absent for the Israel trip, Allen found himself on the bench and eager to win his fourth cap.

"It was good to get the draw because with 10 minutes to go it didn't look likely," Allen recalls.

"Terry Yorath was standing near the touchline and I was running past him and nudging him, saying 'get me on, I'll score for you.'

"It's not normal players do that but I did it because I wanted to play for my country.

"He put me on and fortunately for me the ball was cleared out of the box and came kindly on the volley.

"Mark Hughes, renowned for his volleys, said: 'leave it Mal.'

"But I wasn't going to listen to him and from 20 yards out and in one movement with my left, volleyed it straight into the top corner.

"My celebrations though left a lot to be desired, but we got the draw and that was the main thing."

Malcom Allen

Allen, who started his career at Watford and also played for Millwall and Newcastle United, would earn a further 10 caps for Wales.

But his career ended at the age of 28 following a serious knee injury before he became a coach.

Allen is now a Welsh language pundit for S4C and BBC Radio Cymru and an interested observer in the fortunes of the national side.

He believes the current Wales side can go one better than the class of 1989 and secure victory in Haifa on Saturday.

"It's the biggest game we've had for some years and we go there full of confidence," Allen said.

"We haven't lost in this campaign and Israel have won three out of three so we know what's in front of us.

"James Chester is not in the squad but James Collins has played 20 games for West Ham in the Premiership this season so he will fit into place.

"I expect a tight game and a close game.

"But when you get games where players cancel each other out that's when someone like Gareth Bale can open up any defence and make a difference.

"I'm confident we can get something out of the game but the important things is not too give them too much respect and to start the game with the right attitude and desire."

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