The midfielder volleyed his second goal of the season in a fraught festive contest and dedicated the goal after the final whistle to his girlfriend, who was poised to give birth to their first baby.
Keith Hill’s side scrapped for three points with further goals from Joe Dodoo and Daryl Murphy to bring themselves within two points of their opponents at the foot of the League One table.
And there was double cause for celebration in the Murphy household this weekend, with a daughter due to arrive the following day.
“It’s my first, so you’ll see me in a few weeks with bags under my eyes,” he told The Bolton News. “I’d better enjoy this goal.
“We said the one time of year we didn’t want was Christmas as well – but it happened and I’m blaming her.
“She’s booked in for a caesarean so I gave my phone to the kit man in case anything happened because I wanted to be there. I wanted to play and get the win but I don’t know what would have happened if she’d have been rushed in early.
“I used to score more goals than I do now but it’s nice to get one, especially a left-foot swinger where I got a bit lucky. That one was for her and the little baby.”
Wanderers were not at their best, the frustration clearly evident in the first half after Harry Lennon headed Southend into an early lead.
Murphy maintains the end result was all that mattered.
“It was just what we needed,” he said. “The win was the main thing and performance-wise we know it wasn’t great.
“Teams are going to come here and set off to defend. We need to be more patient with the ball.
“First-half we didn’t lay a glove on them. We were very sloppy but somehow we managed to get 2-1 ahead. Second-half we managed to get the job done.
“It’s nothing to do with changes or systems it was just the players on the pitch.
“It wasn’t a pretty game. I doubt it was good to watch. There were a lot of long balls, second balls, scrappy stuff. We just had to put our foot on the ball and make sure it wasn’t as frantic. Once we did we got into our stride and started to cause them problem.”