Murphy was making his first City appearance since he hobbled out of the Boxing Day defeat at Morecambe with an ankle injury, but the big striker was unable to get on the scoresheet against promotion-chasing Rotherham.
The Millers netted the only goal of the game in the seventh minute. Dale Tonge’s throw-in from the right was taken on by striker Chris O’Grady, who turned Paul Linwood and scuffed a left-footed shot towards goal. Blues keeper John Danby should have been able to keep O’Grady’s effort out, but he went to ground slowly and the ball slipped through his fingers and ended up in the back of the net.
City had plenty of possession but failed to register a single worthwhile shot on Rotherham keeper Andy Warrington’s goal.
The Deva faithful had to wait until the 90th minute to see their team’s best effort – a dipping volley from Laurence Wilson which whistled narrowly off target.
Chester – without a win since December 22 – have now lost six of their last seven League Two fixtures.
Chester: Danby, Vaughan, Butler, Linwood, Wilson, Partridge, Roberts (Hughes 75), Welsh, Ellison (Sandwith 81), Murphy, Holroyd (Lindfield 65). Subs: Palethorpe, Grant.
Booked: Welsh, Ellison, Linwood, Vaughan.
Rotherham: Warrington, Tonge, Joseph, Sharps, Brogan, D Harrison, Mills, Hudson, D Holmes (Yates 69), O’Grady, Taylor (Ross 46). Subs: O’Donnell, Newsham, Hurst.
Booked: Tonge, D Harrison.
Goals: O’Grady 7.
Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire).