Murphy takes his goal tally to 10 with a brace to give Blues the points
The Republic of Ireland international curled in a beauty just past the half hour to put Blues in front and then kept his nerve to chip the ball over Carl Ikeme on the hour to put Town in control again after James Henry’s long range and rather fortunate equaliser.
The brace took Murphy to 10 goals for the season and made it successive wins for Blues, with the gap to the top just three points.
Town made two changes from the side that beat Blackpool at the weekend, Jay Tabb and Kevin Bru coming into the side for the injured Cole Skuse and Teddy Bishop.
Blues started on the front foot, Ikeme forced into a low save in the first two minutes to keep out Murphy’s shot after Matt Doherty had slipped over.
Murphy was then crowded out inside the Wolves’ box after good work by Stephen Hunt, the midfielder up against his former club for the first time since leaving Molineux in the summer of 2013.
Murphy lashed another effort just over as Town pressed for an opener, Ikeme off his line on a couple of occasions to clear as Blues looked to get behind the visitors’ defence.
Murphy had to be sharp at the other end though to stop Wolves going ahead, the Republic of Ireland international lost possession in midfield and when the ball fell to Bakary Sako 15 yards out, it was the frontman who made amends with a timely challenge to deflect the goalbound shot wide.
Wolves were forced into an early change with midfielder Dave Edwards limping off to be replaced by Michael Jacobs and seconds later they could have been behind. Ikeme dropped Bru’s cross and David McGoldrick hooked the ball goalwards but it was deflected wide for a corner.
Town went even closer on 25 minutes, Hunt again involved in the play and Tabb stabbed the ball goalwards from close range but Ikeme was equal to the task.
Luke Hyam was booked for a foul on Lee Evans that saw his card collection hit five for the season and will see him miss Saturday’s game against Watford through suspension.
Mick McCarthy’s side got the breakthrough they had threatened on 35 minutes and no surprise it was Murphy who got it, the frontman curling in another terrific strike from the angle of the box to lift the Portman Road faithful off their feet.
Hunt and Murphy, who were a constant thorn in Wolves’ side, linked up again but the striker found the sidenetting with Tabb clear six yards out.
Tommy Smith headed over just before the break as Blues went close to adding to the advantage, McGoldrick testing Ikeme from a well-worked free-kick in the last action of the half.
Tabb forced a corner after McGoldrick found him with a slick pass, Danny Batth clearing the danger but Wolves were level on 52 minutes, Henry’s cross from 40 yards beating everyone and going in the far corner.
Tyrone Mings almost conjured up an immediate response for Blues, surging into the box but his cross cannoned to safety, Christophe Berra following up with a shot that was blocked.
Leon Clarke was inches away from finding the net at the other end but it was Town who struck again just before the hour, McGoldrick sent Murphy clear on goal and the former Sunderland striker showed a great touch to lift the ball over Ikeme and into the net.
Mings tested Ikeme with a drive from the edge of the box, then Henry cut inside the Town defence but sent his curler just wide.
Mings caused another alert in the Wolves backline with a run and fierce cross that pin-balled around the six yard box and went just wide of the far post.
Bru sent a volley just wide of the post from 30 yards before Town made a first change, Hunt making way for Paul Anderson for the final 15 minutes. Darren Ambrose replacing Tabb soon after.
Sako sent a 40 yard free-kick into orbit in a desperate attempt to salvage a point for the visitors and Blues had to throw bodies in the way of a couple of shots but Town held on to pick up three big points.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Hyam, Bru, Tabb (Ambrose 78), Hunt (Anderson 75), Murphy, McGoldrick (Sammon 90). Subs not used: Crowe, Hewitt, Henshall, Bajner. Booked: Hyam, Bru.