Martin Allen has stressed the importance of being able to match Conferences sides physically if they are to improve on last season and win promotion.

Charlie MacDonald's 30th minute goal was enough to give Barnet a 1-0 win over a direct Stevenage side at The Hive on Tuesday evening.

And Allen says being able to cope with the physical threat of teams will be key if the Bees are to better their eighth-place finish of last season.

Speaking after the 1-0 win, the Bees head coach said: "We saw last year in the short time I was here, there are some big teams, there are some tough teams and you've got to be able to man up against them.

"You've got to be able to stand up to them and you've got to be able to compete with them and there were certain games even when I was here last year, it was men against boys and I don't think it's going to be like that anymore.

Assessing the importance of John Akinde and trialist Bondz N'Gala in negating the physical threat, Allen said: "They're not only good footballers and good people and good professional players, they're also very competitive and physical.

"It's all very well and good wanting to play like Barcelona but if you don't defend long throws, free-kicks and corners then you can tip-tap it about as much as you like. As you saw last season, they finished 30 points behind the leaders and that can't ever happen again, let's be honest."

Allen was also quick to praise the impact of the young players introduced shortly after the hour, with the likes of Jamal Lowe, George Sykes and Mauro Vilhete playing the last half an hour.

"I think it was difficult for the young lads on Saturday going on but they worked very hard in training. I was delighted for Mauro [Vilhete] and [Luke] Gambin, they played well tonight [George] Sykes and Jamal Lowe," enthused Allen.

"I don't normally pick out individuals but all those four lads [did well]. It's very important for me to know personally as I drive home that we can put those young lads in our team and they can do really well. There's a long way to go but the signs are good."